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Jacob Sweetman: Liga of the Pack

Well, we can't complain that it's been a boring end of season in the Regionalliga Nord: Werner Lorant took high office at Tennis Borussia, fur is flying at Mommsenstadion, and Türkiyemspor rounded it off under new coach Bahman Foroutan – who arrived with them about as likely to stay up as Rivaldo in stilettos. On ice.

Well, we can’t complain that it’s been a boring end of season in the Regionalliga Nord. Werner Lorant taking high office at Tennis Borussia caught a lot of people off guard, not least because it was assumed that his appointment would lead to both sporting and financial survival.

It turns out, neither have happened and he will probably be gone by the start of next season. The grand old former Bundesliga club have applied for insolvency, as their great white cash-laden knight never quite showed up on time and the wheels fell off his chariot on the pitch where the team had looked to be improving. Losing this weekend away at Hamburg’s under 23s made the insolvency a moot point, they simply ended up fourth bottom so if the silver haired, but fiery tongued boss had brought all the cash in the world they’d still be set up for a fascinating year in the Oberliga next season with derbys against BFC Dynamo and Union Berlin’s (promoted) under 23s.

Fur is flying at Mommsenstadion with an extraordinary members meeting scheduled for June 10 where the reign of main boss Mario Weinkauf may well come to an end. Across the city, Türkiyemspor rounded off their last three games under new coach Bahman Foroutan – who arrived with them about as likely to stay up as Rivaldo in stilettos. On ice. However, with wins against Wolfsburg II, Chemnitzer FC and Saturdays 5-0 spanking of SC Oberneuland the Klassenerhalt was secured with no little style. Foroutan didn’t see it like that though,

“It is not important that we scored five, but that we conceded none,” the raffish old Iranian said. He looks like Omar Sharif in a baseball cap and slacks, and from the first moments of his arrival at Türkiyemspor he’s taken the job on with a zeal of a man half his age. And it’s not the only thing that he is willing to take on. Kicker magazine and the press in general, Theo Zwanziger and the DFB all got a kicking in his press conference that included references to the Greek, Portugese and Spanish economies, Tennis Borussia, the tiredness of the opposition players and the decline of amateur football in Germany. He knows Zwanziger, but doesn’t believe that he loves amateur football as much as he says and bemoans the fact that the papers tell us only “which colour pants the players are wearing”.

While all this was going on the Türkiyem’ media guy sat behind, looking on like a man at his own wedding, whose uncle has just decided to tell everyone the story of how he once put out a fire by wanking all over it.

He commiserated with Oberneuland coach Mike Barten for his knackered players. How can they be properly ready for a game that they have to win by six goals to stay up, when they are getting on a bus at 5am? This is the farce of the Regionalliga, he said. And to be fair, they were either knackered or not very good. After a bright start, playing three up front was always going to be dangerous with Türkiyemspor’s excellent Süleyman Koc running rampant in the space provided and it could have been 5-0 in the first half alone.

At the end, everyone was on the pitch with the players celebrating like they were Turbine Potsdam, but you couldn’t resent them that one. It had been rescued in the most thrilling fashion, and a chink of light through the heavy financial curtains that exist in the lower leagues had slipped through. It’s not just down here, Arminia Bielefeld are hoping for a last minute, €2 million-plus bailout from a shirt company to get their licence for the second division and Hansa Rostock are still sweating about theirs.

Türkiyemspor need to pony up two hundred thousand for the DFB by Thursday, and there could be trouble at their members meeting next week too. I collared Herr Foroutan eventually after he finished talking, but after a brief chat about Leeds Utd’ s promotion (he was once there) he slid off to scare his players as they sat down to eat. The man certainly gives good press conferences at the very least. Hopefully he’ll be around next year at Türkiyemspor, and that both Türkiyemspor and Tennis Borussia are still in existence to see it happen.