Saturday, 9 January 2021

Tasmania Berlin and the Unwanted Bundesliga Record Which Could Have Been Equalled Today (But Wasn't)

This is a short post for my readers to enjoy as I have not posted for a couple of weeks and because events this afternoon are worth a mention. Schalke 04 (actually my favourite German football club but that's another story) today won 4-0 which, even with Matthew Hoppe becoming the first ever American to score a Bundesliga hat-trick in the league's history, would not ordinarily be worth writing about. However, today's result was significant as it stopped Schalke from equalling a very much unwanted record. Failure to win today would have seen the club equal Tasmania Berlin's record of 31 straight Bundesliga games without a win which is an all-time recording being the longest winless streak in Bundesliga history.

If you have read my whistle-stop tour of football in Berlin then you will be no doubt aware of Tasmania Berlin as you will if you also read about my trip to Berlin a few years back. Featured in Football Weekends magazine my trip included a visit to see Tasmania away at Füchse Berlin in a sixth tier Berlin-Liga match. If you have not read either piece then you will probably not have heard of them at all. Tasmania, both in their current guise and the original club before they went bankrupt have gone mostly unnoticed for all of their history bar one season in the top flight where they made a name for all wrong reasons. Their story as I wrote about in those earlier pieces on Berlin football is definitely worth revisiting.

When in 1965, Berlin's only Bundesliga side, Hertha BSC, had their license revoked and were forcibly relegated for breaking the league's player salary rules, the DFB, for cold war related political reasons, were uncomfortable about the idea of not having a Bundesliga team in the city. To resolve this issue SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin who had failed to gain promotion through the play-offs were given Hertha's place in the top flight and so began the worst season in Bundesliga history. Tasmania would win just two of their 34 league games losing 28 and ending the season with just eight points, some 14 behind the team directly above them, and go on a 31 match winless streak which is also a Bundesliga record.

In 1973 SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin went bankrupt and were reformed as SV Tasmania Berlin. Under their new guise, Tasmania's most successful period started in 1981 when promotion saw ten straight seasons in the third tier. More recently, seven straight seasons in sixth tier Berlin-Liga ended with promotion to the fifth tier NOFV-Oberliga Nord last season.

It is believed that the club's name comes from the fact the founders of the original club had been planning to move to Australia with Tasmania their preferred destination. The club used the city's Olympiastadion for home games in their Bundesliga campaign before returning to their usual home of Werner-Seelenbinder-Sportpark. The very modest ground is situated barely five minutes from the iconic former Berlin Tempelhof Airport which closed in 2008. The place is now known as Tempelhofer Feld and used a recreational space it is, including the surrounding land, the largest inner city open space in the world.

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