Sunday afternoon and wonderful sunshine – the best to watch some football. Sadly, the game couldn’t keep up with the weather. Both teams, Neugersdorf and Chemie Leipzig were too scared of relegation.
The Lausitz region of East Germany can best be described as cosy, which is the English word coming closest to the German term gemütlich. Travellers arriving in Neugersdorf could be forgiven to think they have arrived in a different time. This small town of just 6000 inhabitants works at a different pace, a pace that is not dominated by traffic and noise. For a start, on a Sunday afternoon the streets are deserted; most people tending their gardens or following other pastimes. Like football. Football fandom here appears to be more of a leisure activity that has become a habit simply because it has been like that for generations. Of course the choice is an easy one as the local football club, FC Oberlausitz Neugersdorf are the biggest team south of Dresden. This unhurried way of life is very much reflected in the people attending the matches. The average age is way beyond 40, closer to 50 actually. The fan club consists of about 15 people, maybe 20. Their singing and drumming went largely unheard in the wide round of the ground.
The main stand houses around 150 people on seats, with roughly 50 reserved for VIPs. The average gate figure this season is about 200. Therefore welcoming more than 700 supporters from BSG Chemie Leipzig pushed the gate figure to 1200 for the day which constituted the season’s record attendance.
The visitor’s fans were much younger and due to their number much louder. They were better organised in their support, having a capo animating the crowd in the away end. Away end may be an exaggeration as this section resembled more of a cage. At least there was a roof over this section as the sun was at her best: temperatures reached a summery 26°.
If only the game was as good as the weather.
Both teams played as though they were intimidated by fear of relegation. This is a serious issue for Chemie who currently have three points less than Budissa Bautzen but have played a game more. It looks better for Neugersdorf who are on 40 points and were unbeaten for eight games during April. That surely should see them through, for Leipzig going down becomes more and more a reality. The visitors will have to play the second outfit of Hertha BSC and TSG Neustrelitz, the latter being an easy gameas Neustrelitz are basically already relegated. Hertha’s Amateurs will be a tough nut to crack and could become the final curtain for them in the fourth division. For the hosts the Babelsberg and Cottbus will prove to be serious tests towards the end of the season.
This game was dull, after 30 minutes no keeper has had a save to make, i.e. the aim was to avoid goals and not to play. Chemie came close after 41 minutes when a free kick from the right was met with a strong header by Chemie’s number 7, Alexander Bury who outjumped everyone but saw the ball go wide, a matter of inches. This was their best chance throughout the ninety minutes! Neugersdorf needed the help of Leipzig’s keeper to record a chance. A cross came in sharp and Latendresse-Lévesque dropped it only keep the bouncing ball in his hand at the second attempt.
The second half did not get much better. Chances were rare and towards the end the heat took its toll and the game was interrupted increasingly by fouls and subsequently yellow cards. It stayed goalless, this does not help Leipzig, while Neugersdorf can commence planning the coming season.
Football on a Sunday afternoon in one of the most remote areas of Germany. The weather and the mood of the region have influenced the game: it was slow without hectic or urgency even though the stakes are quite high for both teams. This fourth division is very close, except Energie Cottbus who are clearly too big for this division. Between BFC Dynamo in second place and Chemie Leipzig are only 20 points which underlines the universal strength of the Regionalliga Nordost. It would be a shame if the league champions Cottbus would not make it to the third division this season.