Christoph Menz grabbed the ball and brought it back to the center line as quickly as possible. He had just scored the 1:2 goal for Viktoria Berlin and thus brought some hope back to the Jahnsportpark. Hoping to be able to hold on to the league, which was then destroyed three minutes later by Lukas Krüger, who scored 3-1 for SV Meppen.
Symbolic of the situation in Berlin that day in the Jahnsportpark in front of 2400 spectators. As soon as things went well for Farat Toku’s team, the Meppen team immediately followed suit and destroyed any burgeoning hope. In the end they lost 3:4 and had to say goodbye back to the regional league after a season in the 3rd league.
“It wasn’t supposed to be today, but the boys still played a good game,” Toku summarized the game after the final whistle. The Berliners primarily had to win against Meppen and at the same time hope for support from MSV Duisburg, who were guests at SC Verl.
Because only if East Westphalia had lost could Viktoria have overtaken Verl in the table with a win. What sounds good in theory, the Berliners were ultimately unable to implement.
Head coach Toku was without his suspended midfielder Christopher Theisen for the season finale, who was replaced by Shinji Yamada. Otherwise he relied on the team that celebrated the surprise win against 1. FC Saarbrücken two weeks ago.
And his players showed from the start that they absolutely wanted to win and tried to combine forwards again and again, especially in the first quarter of an hour, but a dangerous finish didn’t come about at first.
As a result, the game flattened out a bit and now it was the Meppen team who got into the game a little better and increasingly gained control of the action. However, there were no significant opportunities here either.
After half an hour, the Berliners suddenly got their big chance in the first half and what a chance it was. Enes Küc got the ball on the left side of the penalty area and put the ball through to the six-yard box to Yamada, who brought the ball on target from a tight angle but only hit the crossbar.
Franck Evina’s follow-up shot was blocked and rebounded to Lukas Pinckert, who shot with full force from the penalty spot, but was ultimately denied by Constantin Frommann, who made a strong save. This triple chance gave the Berliners some impetus and the counter-pressing also worked very well in this phase, so that Viktoria often conquered the ball in the opposing half and tried to get shots. There was still nothing countable, so it went into the break at 0:0.
At this point, Verl was 1-0 down against Duisburg and relegation seemed within reach for the Berliners. But again the joy was short-lived: Only three minutes of the second half had been played when Morgan Faßbender shocked Viktoria with his goal to make it 1-0.
While the Berliners were still very active on the offensive, Toku’s team often acted far too passively on the defensive, including when they conceded, when captain Luka Tankulić calmly finished and Faßbender finally rebounded into the bottom right corner transformed.
In the 52nd minute, the next blow to the neck for the Berliners: After a handball from Shinji Yamada, Tankulić safely converted the penalty kick to make it 2-0. Viktoria seemed defeated, but still didn’t want to give up and consequently scored a goal through Menz in the 65th minute.
Again a short moment of hope, which the Meppener relativized again only three minutes later by Krüger. But even at this point, the Berliners didn’t give up, continued to play forward and scored hits on the crossbar by Küc and substitute Moritz Seiffert.
In the 90th minute, Tobias Gunte was even able to score the equalizer to make it 3:3, but the usual picture presented itself again: A minute later, Meppen’s Richard Sukuta-Pasu buried Viktoria’s last dreams with the immediate counterattack and sealed it With his goal, Viktoria was finally relegated.
“Empty, eerily empty. It was an incredibly strenuous year with everything that goes with it, with the high at the beginning, then everything worked out, but we didn’t get any points,” said a dejected Björn Jopek, summing up his team’s year. “When we thought it couldn’t get any worse, and then something always happened.”