Christopher Towers wrote a piece on the Berliners for When Saturday Comes recently. In it, he refers to the team’s relegation in May as “remarkable”. In reality, it was anything but.
Die Alte Dame may have mounted a quasi-title challenge in 2008/09, but the foundations were hollow, the bid a bit of an anomaly.
Lucien Favre’s gameplan was built on a sit/suck/surge/shoot (repeat) style that made for 1-0 wins and frustrated football fans.
As Rangers, Greece, Fulham, Schalke and so on have shown in recent seasons, short-term spurts of success are easy to attain via these kind of tactics.
Inevitably, such flavours are played by *smaller* clubs, or, in the case of Schalke, Rangers, and Hertha, those with finances preventing extravagance. In the case of the latter, the capital-city side’s cobweb-ridden vaults meant that their personnel-crown jewels were sold over the summer – occasionally talismanic heroes such as Marko Pantelic, Andriy Voronin and Josip Šimunić. In spite of this, the club were still €35m in debt, and thus had no way of plugging the gaps.
Things got worse on and off the pitch as the season went on – perhaps worst of all, yobs rioting in the stadium after another home defeat. The relegation was prolonged until the penultimate weekend, but nigh-on certain from about September. Continue reading