Wednesday, May 04, 2011

KSK Heist – FC.V.Dender E.H. (02-04-2011)

After having enjoyed a relaxing game in the sun in Koblenz, we had driven to Belgium for a concert, hoping to still see an evening game in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the concert took longer than expected, and so we arrive at the Gemeentelijk Sportcentrum (Communal Sports Center) in Heist-op-den-Berg, Flanders.

We buy a ticket for €10 and walk to the pitch. We are 22 minutes late and the hosts are 1-0 up. The visitors in this Tweede Klasse (Second Division) game is the FC Verbroedering Dender Eendracht Hekelgem, a typical Belgian construction of a variety of local mergers. Some 60 fans have made the trip from Denderleeuw, roughly 70 km (45 miles) southeast. Most are drunk and enjoy themselves with loud shouting and fireworks.

As we circle the pitch, looking for food and drink, the home team wraps up the game. In the 28th minute they score the 2-0 and two minutes later 3-0, all by the same player: a real hatrick! The roughly 500 home fans cannot believe their eyes.

Leading 3-0, KSK Heist remains the better team, but they no longer pressure. Hence, Dender can get back into the game. In the 40th minute they have a good shot from 20 meter, which is hit over the goal by the goalie. Half time: 3-0.

The second half is tame, as so often when the first half had many goals. Somehow the hosts cannot motivate themselves anymore and their pace is low and passing sloppy. They play defensively, letting the guests come but giving them little space in the last 25 meters.

As far as chances go, Dender has the few more remarkable ones. In the 59th minute a cross is deflected close to the goal, but the KSK goalie saves. In the 67th minute a surprising shot from 25 meters goes wide. These are, roughly, the highlights of the second half. We leave several minutes before the end, to get something to eat, but the final score remains 3-0.

KSK Heist is a typical lower division Belgian team with poor facilities and a small support base. They are always a bad season away from bankruptcy and forced merger with a similar club in the near region.
TuS Koblenz – Eintracht Braunschweig (02-04-2011)

After a resting night in a hotel between Karlsruhe and Koblenz, and a delicious breakfast at a small town bakery, we arrived in Koblenz to see a midday game in the 3. Bundesliga (Third Division). We were directed to a residential area to park and then had to walk some 15 minutes to the Stadion Oberwerth, which was surrounded by policemen in riot gear.

While the police presence was ridiculous, the number of away fans was quite impressive: at least 500 Eintracht fans had made the ca. 400 km (250 miles) trip from Braunschweig. Undoubtedly this big support was in part the result of a very good season so far; Eintracht fights for promotion to the 2. Bundesliga.

We paid €13 for a non-covered seat on the long side. Overall, 5.512 people had come to the stadium, enjoying a beautiful, sunny Spring day. While the stadium has a capacity of 15.000, it only has 4.000 seats, and the atmosphere was quite good. Singing was limited to the youngest fans, gathered in the “Inferno”.

The first fifteen minutes are clearly for TuS Koblenz. In the 8th minute Eintracht almost scores an own goal, while the rebound is saved. While the hosts work hard, and have most of the game, the guests are lazy, but clearly the better team in talent. All in all, the level of play is very poor and few chances are created. The best chance is a counter attack of Koblenz in the 42nd minute, which ends with a shot at the goalie. The half time score is a logical 0-0.


The second half is more of the same. Most of the semi-chances come from bad shots of Koblenz, which almost roll into the goal. In the 63rd minute, Kumbela, who has just entered the game, gets the ball, cuts back, and shoots: 0-1. A minute later, the other topscorer of Eintracht gets the ball and scores too: 0-2 out of nowhere.

Fans around us get very moody, complaining not just about this game, but also about the whole season. Both teams now put in less effort, which means little still happens. In the 78th minute the home goalie saves three times in a short time. It would be the last major chance. As we have to be in Belgium in the early evening, we leave 10 minutes before the end. The final score remains 0-2, however.

TuS Koblenz is one of the smaller professional teams in North Rhine Westphalia, which emerged only recently in the highest divisions of German professional football. It has a cute small stadium and a small, very local, fan base. Particularly when it is nice weather, the Stadion Oberwerth is a nice and relaxing setting for a game.