Hertha 03 Zehlendorf has been the leader of the table in the northern season of the NOFV Oberliga for weeks, followed by Greifswalder FC in second place. Zehlendorf has not lost since mid-February, has one point more and both teams have two games left. Advantage Hertha 03?
It’s not that easy in the premier league. Greifswald may not have been top of the table this season, but it still has the best prospects of moving up to the Northeast Regional Football League. This is not primarily due to the home advantage in the top game against Zehlendorf on Sunday at 2 p.m., but to a special feature of the league.
The last five of the actual 36 match days will not take place. Because the table will be in a skewed position in terms of the number of games played even after the end of the season, the quotient rule applies.
“Good,” answers Zehlendorf’s President Kamyar Niroumand when asked how his arithmetic skills are, especially with fractions. But: “It’s all pretty complicated.” For weeks now, the 61-year-old has been recalculating, game day after game day. Overall, the situation has simplified a bit because only two teams are still in the promotion race.
But it is still so difficult that Greifswalder FC has published a long informational text on its website. It begins as follows: “Okay guys, we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about the current situation in the NOFV-Oberliga Nord lately.”
In addition to the table, appointments and list of top scorers, the “Football Week” has long since included the quotient table for promotion candidates. Finally, the third decimal place was listed. For good reason. In the sporting standings, Hertha 03 is ahead of Greifswald (65 points/29 games) with 66 points from 30 games. The quotient is different: Zehlendorf 2.200, Greifswald 2.241, gives the team from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania a 0.041 point lead. It was similarly tight in the aborted 2019/20 season in the Berlin league: Stern 1900 ultimately had 0.03 points more than Sparta Lichtenberg and rose.
Since Hertha 03 finish with a game more than Greifswald, the lead must be at least three points. If Zehlendorf wins on Sunday, then you have it in your own hands against TSG Neustrelitz. In the event of a draw, the advantage lies with Greifswald, which is still playing at SC Staaken.
If the GFC – coached by Roland Kroos, the father of Toni and Felix – wins in the top game, everything would be decided. In the recent past, Zehlendorf had often given big goals before the start of the season. Not this time. Promotion would be nice for the club, which last played fourth-rate in 2000, but it’s not mandatory.
The Northeast German Football Association has maneuvered itself into a position where, in addition to goals and points, decimal places and quotients also decide promotion. In autumn, the NOFV decided to interrupt the season due to the increasing number of corona cases, while the regional league, which also plays under the NOFV umbrella, continued just like the Berlin leagues.
Regarding the interruption, there was already plenty of criticism in November. “She came way too early. Two or three matchdays could have been played,” says Niroumand today.
Instead of then at least bringing forward the restart, the decision to shorten the season followed at the end of January. The games canceled before Christmas were made up for, but canceled for the second half of the season. As a result, some clubs quickly had no chance, especially in the relegation battle.
“Because everyone has known the regulation for months, there is a certain fairness,” says Niroumand, “but it’s not fair. I’m not a fan of it.” It can’t be entirely fair, because not all teams play every opponent twice.
In Zehlendorf they have not only calculated in the last few weeks, but also planned, for both leagues. Almost all top performers have extended their contracts, the salaries are the same regardless of the league. “I’m very grateful to the boys for that,” says Niroumand.
In addition, eight players will come up from the A youth team, which won the Berlin Cup and is playing against Eintracht Norderstedt for promotion to the Bundesliga. Especially with a view to the many talents, the leap into the regional league for men would be important.
The Robert Schröder/Fabian Gerdts coaching duo will no longer exist next season, as Gerdts is going to his former club Berliner SC in the Berlin league. Schroeder continues. And financially “the regional league would be feasible for us. But we won’t take players who earn a few thousand euros a month,” says Niroumand.
The stadium question remains. One point in particular gives those responsible headaches: The Ernst-Reuter-Sportfeld does not meet the NOFV specifications for the guest area. “The sports department doesn’t want to do anything. I have the feeling that they would be happy there if we didn’t get promoted,” says Niroumand. As of now, Zehlendorf would have to move to the Lichterfelde stadium in the regional league like in the previous season of SV Tasmania. But it’s not that far yet. For the game in Greifswald, Niroumand formulated a clear requirement: “We have to play to win.” You can count again after the final whistle.