SFC Friedrichshain Internazionale 4 – 3 vs. Polnischer Olympia Club


“Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.”

― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Saturday, 19th September, 2015

GOALS: Lannoy, Shingleton, Jersch, West
ASSISTS: Shingleton, Wuyts, French, Lannoy

In the summer of 2013, Jennifer Pentland, who is the daughter of Roseanne Barr of Roseanne fame, tweeted a question about one of the most mysterious miracles of Mother Nature. She asked the internets: “Do caterpillars know they’re gonna fly some day or they just start building a cocoon and are like why am I doing this?” It was retweeted over 5,000 times. As SFC Friedrichshain Internazionale reflect on claiming their first points of the season against Polnischer Olympia Club on Saturday, the debrief is characterised by the complexities of change. It is a story of the old and the new.

Taking to the field at Kurt-Ritter-Sportplatz , with eyes squinted into focus by the late summer sunshine and the whiff of unwashed shorts, a discomfort could be felt under the frayed collars of the imminently obsolete green kit. Despite being only the second game in the 2015/16 calendar, it was evidently if not expressibly a must-win occasion. As they lined up against last season’s Bezirksliga Recreation St.2 champions, a red sea of buzzcuts and muscle, the gauntlet revealed itself. If the team’s summer rebranding was to move from concept to execution, it would first need to be fuelled by a victory.


Head of team design Andrew Weber, chancing his arm at left back after Alexander Todorovic had damaged his in revelry the night before, had set the team up to attack. Formation #2 (Primary, Attacking Via Centre) from the dossier is a 4-3-3 which trades midfield stability for width and pace. It was a strong decision that brought early reward. Adam Shingleton, ahead of the chrysalitic curve in his pink adidas astro boots, split the Polnischer defence to play in Alexis Lannoy, who added to his increasingly reliable goal count by gracefully rounding the keeper at speed and driving home. One nil.

The urgency and eager running of Andy West on the left and Martin Gruttadauria on the right threatened to put this encounter to bed early on. The quality and intensity of the best pre-season in memory translated into chances but not goals. It was as if being on the front foot were a burden. ‘Hey, heavy lies the crown’, broods Frank Costello in The Departed. Captain Tilo Schumann went down clutching his neck. Central defensive partner and birthday boy Stephen Fanning was probably concussed. A free kick was conceded just outside the box and the Polnischer captain stepped up to stroke home. Heavy indeed.

The second half saw SFC Inter go 3-1 up in the first ten minutes. When Ben Wuyts was felled on the edge of the D, Shingleton arrived on the scene as if straight from The Doctor’s TARDIS with urgent knowledge of the future. He shooed Lannoy and Paul French’s interest from the scene, located the valve on the ball and punched it round the Polnischer wall and into the net. Five minutes later, Wuyts won a second free kick on the right. French swung the ball in and it was nodded home by the most German man in the six yard box, Nico Jersch.

Despite the two-goal cushion, Inter laboured to escape the clutches of disaster. Data analysts at the 2014 World Cup revealed that the ball is in play for an average of only 57 minutes a game, which is instructive to fitness coaches but masks a simpler truth – concentration is required for 90 +. They were pegged back to 3-2 and then survived a missed penalty before West arrived at the back post to head home a Lannoy corner. And still they flirted with ruining their own Saturday, allowing Polnischer to score a third before the referee gracefully intervened with the final whistle.

In the chrysalis stage, almost all of a caterpillar is dissolved into a broth full of chunky bits. Or: goop. This includes the nervous system and brain. The challenge for SFCF Inter’s coming of age season is to recognise communication as the highest order of team football. If the players can become better attuned to each other, more instinctive passing moves will emerge from the disorder and the probability of more straightforward victories will increase. This was an entertaining beginning. A colourful season awaits.

Man of the Match: Jersch

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REPORT: Friedrichshain Rovers 4-0 vs. Lichtenrader Füchse

Photo Credit: Ryu Voelkel

Photo Credit: Ryu Voelkel

GOALS: Wuyts, French, West (pen), Jersch
ASSISTS: Lannoy, Shingleton, Weber, Hagen

If you look closely at the graph below, you can see the exact point at which Friedrichshain Rovers realised they were in a relegation battle. On a Saturday when Barcelona were in Berlin, it’s at least logically legitimate to recognise that Rovers could actually be The Best Team In The World, forbidden from promotion and chained, like a brooding bear, to Freizeit obscurity. This season, this band of men have forgivably but regrettably fallen on the wrong side of this city’s many wonderful distractions. They have forgotten that there is football to be played and scraps to be won. But play they can.

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Quote of the Decade, by Josh Waitzkin


Joshua Waitzkin wrote The Art of Learning.

This quote comes courtesy of The Tim Ferriss Show.

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An Important Announcement About The Future of Reading


I’m joining the team at The Pigeonhole in Berlin to help bring about a seismic shift in the way books are produced and consumed.

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