26 May ~ The years since German reunification have not been kind to East German football, at least not in the men’s game where 2011-12 will be the third consecutive season in the Bundesliga without eastern representation. In the women’s game matters are a little different – tonight 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam will contest the Champions League final at Craven Cottage. The club are seeking to retain the title they won last year, having already won the German Championship for the third successive season. Against Olympique Lyonnais they start as hot favourites in a repeat of the 2010 final.

Turbine celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. That the sports club of the state electricity company in Potsdam should establish a women’s football section was the idea of Bernd Schröder, who, at 68, is still Turbine coach and a man who combines extraordinary longevity with legendary grumpiness. The team enjoyed much success in the DDR Oberliga and, after starting their post-Communist existence in the lower leagues, were promoted to the Bundesliga in 1994. They have become a major force in Germany since the turn of the century, winning five championships in the last eight years.

Domestically Turbine’s main rivals are 1. FFC Frankfurt. A number of players have left Potsdam for Frankfurt in recent years and relations between the two clubs have been strained. The home win over Frankfurt last August was marred by a number of unsavoury incidents as ill-feeling between the two sets of boiled over, culminating in Frankfurt’s coach being sent to the stands for a push on a Potsdam player.

Almost immediately after the semi-final victory over 2009 winners Duisburg, star player and German international Lire Bajramaj announced that she was leaving Potsdam at the end of the season and following the well trodden path to Frankfurt, ostensibly to be nearer her Duisburg-based family though money has surely been the main motive. Schröder was reportedly furious about the timing of Bajramaj’s announcement. At 23 she still has her best years ahead of her and her departure is undoubtedly a blow.

Nonetheless Turbine have overcome the loss of key players in the past. The club runs four adult teams as well as a series of age group teams and talent in the East rarely slips through the Turbine net. Home-grown players have repeatedly filled the breach. But while Turbine remain dominant there are clouds on the horizon, notably the financial disparity with the big West German clubs and the question of how long Schröder can, or wants to, carry on. But for now Turbine fans will enjoy the moment and the fact that in women’s football at least, the Ossis really are on top. Peter Bateman

Tickets for the match are still available – £5 for adults and £3 for Under-16s from Fulham FC or call 0843 208 1234

Comments (6)
Comment by The Exploding Vole 2011-05-26 12:27:06

What sort of gate is there likely to be for the match?

Comment by TheRedMax 2011-05-26 13:14:07

Most likely wooden, locked, manned by some grumpy bloke in a fluorescent yellow coat.

Comment by shadsworth cloud 2011-05-26 22:18:01

14,300 was the attendance which is not bad considering some tickets cost as much as £5.

Comment by Broken Clock 2011-05-27 00:30:27

Just back from CC. A game of two halves Davina etc. Lyon far better in the first half with Potsdam bossing the second.
The tall pony tailed number 8 upfront for Lyon was WOTM in my book with the Potsdam "Ronaldhino playalike" number 10 running her close.
A bloody good game it was as well.

Shame on the London print media for their general ignoring of the event. Not a mention in The Metro & Evening Standard. Im sure a bit of publicity couldve helped boost the crowd despite the awful weather leading up to the match itself.

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2011-05-27 09:54:29

14,300? Really. I didn't think there were that many. Not been able to find any reportage of the attendance.

It was competitive, but Lyon were by FAR the better side. I started to get a bit irritated towards the end at the lack of technical ability - the attacking headers being particularly poor - but the second goal was one of the best I've seen at the Cottage all season.

Thanks WSC for the tickets!

The Guardian has done a good write up

Comment by Peter_Bateman 2011-05-27 18:33:39

From a Turbine perspective it was a disappointing performance particularly upfront where Anja Mittag was totally anonymous. Lira Bajramaj worked hard in her final game but without support was ineffective. Generally Turbine gave the ball way far too often to be able to exert any sustained pressure. There was one good chance for Turbine in the second half but after the player failed to get a shot in from a couple of yards out I realy couldn't see Turbine getting back into it. Wendie Renard won just about everything at the back for Lyons. But Turbine are, it should not be forgotten, a very young team and they will doubtless be back.

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