The term 'Englische Woche' had bamboozled the small crowd of Auslanders (foreigners) that had gathered to watch Union's third game in 9 days. We should have guessed. The term 'Englische Woche' came about in Germany to describe a week where 3 games are played - a happening synonymous with the English game that harks back to a time when games were scheduled this way to accommodate the cricket season.
The Köln game on a Friday night had kicked off the 'trilogy' with Union coming from behind to win 2-1. It was a very English affair. Not pretty but both teams were scrapping for the points. The fans carried Union over the finish line.
The Wednesday saw Union face FC Erzgebirge Aue who were, at that stage, second bottom and on the same points as Union - five. Union took the lead after 7 minutes through Terodde. Last term the fixture had finished 1-1 and with Union's defence looking frail and devoid of confidence on more than one occasion, it was no surprise that Erzgebirge leveled 7 minutes from time. All very symmetrical. However, whilst a point was not ideal it meant that Union went in to their home game against local rivals Cottbus undefeated during Englische Woche.
My first Union away game was against Cottbus. On the trip to that game a group of youngsters had informed me that Cottbus fans were, and I paraphrase and translate, 'a bunch of farmers from the middle of nowhere.' On arrival in Cottbus on a Sunday morning it was hard to disagree. Whilst there were a few more police around than usual at Ostkreuz Station there was no hint of trouble. Judging by my visit to Cottbus the away fans had probably been shepherded in to the ground en masse.
One of the reasons for writing a blog and following Union was to widen my circle of acquaintances. The four of us who managed to meet up at Ostkreuz were a 50/50 split of Americans and Brits. Matt, who I met at the Köln game, has promised (slightly under the influence) to write a blog piece in the coming months. He knows the offside rule and likes a beer - it will be good material I'm sure.
The game was a sell out for the fourth consecutive home game in a row. The 16,750 capacity crowd were in good voice and the Union home end looked awesome decked out in red and white. The Energie contingent had brought along some very strange reflective boards in gold and red. They looked almost mystical when held aloft.
Nemec started up front with Terodde as Neuhaus opted to go 4-4-2 - this has to be Union's best formation at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. It was just after the half hour mark when Terodde scored after Mattuschka had salvaged a short-corner gone awry. Much to the amusement of our group as Rob had just stated, "we never score from short corners." The corner routine did not work but the ball fell kindly to Mattuschka who scooped in a cross and Terodde was quickest to act and headed home, via a ricochet from the keeper, for his 2nd goal in as many games. (Click here to see Terodde score the quickest hat-trick I have ever seen in under 3 minutes - albeit in a friendly.)
Union came out for the second half and looked a touch off the pace. They were punished by a well taken goal from Adlung. The ball broke to the Energie player just inside the box and he placed the ball in the top right. Haas, the Union keeper, had no chance. As luck would have it, Rob had just uttered that Energie looked poor! The Energie euphoria was short lived however as Union hit back within five minutes. Terodde slid a neat ball through to Quiring. The Union right winger is full of running and it was his pace that led to the Union goal in the first half, when he won a corner. The goal was just reward for an energetic display. 2-1 Union.
There are times during a season when you just know you're going to win. This was one of those days. Or had the half-time pint just kicked in? On 70 minutes Union conceded a penalty and were down to 10 men. A huge turning point in a physical encounter. However, the touch was minimal and whilst the referee had no option but to point to the spot, the sending off of Schönheim was harsh, as there appeared to be a Union defender alongside him.
It would be easy to say that Energie squandered the goal scoring opportunity that had been gifted but that does a disservice to Haas. He guessed left and was half way across the goal by the time the Energie striker shot. He palmed the ball away with a strong left arm and Union were able to welly the ball out for a corner. Mattuschka was like a man possessed and raced over to congratulate his team mate and clearly realised the significance of the save. It was match winning.
The drama continued as Adlung was sent off to even things up a bit. It must have been for something he said to the linesman. We didn't care. The game opened up with Cottbus throwing everything forward. In the closing stages their keeper was in the Union box on more than one occasion. In injury time Union sealed the points with a goal on the counter-attack. Union had a man over although due to a neat shimmy by Jopek he was not required, and the midfielder drove the ball home to make it 3-1.
7 points from 9 in Englishce Woche. St Pauli next up in the Friday night game on October 5th. Union are on the up!
Massive thanks to Groundhopping etc. for the photos. They are brilliant and really capture the key moments and bring the blog to life.