Thursday, May 08, 2008

Germany & Turkey May 2008

This was my first experience of watching the U-17 European Championships.

Though the surroundings in Antalya were modest, especially in the WOW Sports complex, the impression was of seeing well organised professional players. In the first match Serbia overcame a typically less skilful Scottish side , 2-0 , with potential future star Aleksic scoring from a superb overhead kick.
The second match, played at the newly built and attractive though again somewhat remote Mardan stadium, saw an impressive Turkey team reasonably easily overcome a favoured Dutch side.
Antalya is well served by sunshine,bars and restaurants and it's a popular location for Northern Europeans (mainly Germans)

In their homeland Greuther Furth were underwhelming versus lowly Paderborn much to the annoyance of the locals.
Then I saw Verl, in the Regional Liga North, lose to Babelsberg before a small crowd in a village (where the last bus left at around 5.30 pm) near Gutersloh.
More exciting was Wacker Burghausen winning in Regensburg , a local derby that had significance for both prior to the divisonal split and creation of 3rd Liga.

The following day another village team Hoffenheim powered to victory over Koblenz , led by the skills of Nigerian Obasi partnered by Demba Ba up front. Hoffenheim thus retained a top three position in the 2. Bundesliga. The weather was hot and sunny and the weissbeer (dunkel) in the pleasant nearby town of Sinsheim most conducive.
Back in Turkey I took a tourist trip from Kayseri via Urgup to Cappadocia.
The area is famous for its very unusual rock scenery - from distant volcanic activity.
You see churches (incl some 200 in Goreme alone) , houses and working areas built into the rock. During the tour we even had lunch in a cave-like restaurant.

At thus time of year the region is popular with the locals - particularly on a Sunday.

Somewhat less exciting was Kayserispor vs Ankaragucu.
Kayserispor had won the Turkish cup a few days before and hence most of their regular players were rested and as there was little significance to the game (Kayserispor were settled in 5th and Ankaragucu in 11th) the team from Ankara also included reserve and U-21 players. Ankaragucu won 2-0 and were generally comfortable in doing so.

Later in the year , if all goes to plan, Kayseri will have an impressive new stadium (33,000), currently going up near the edge of town.
There will also be a rail system to take you (near) there - again this is slowly being constructed in the centre of town.

for more pictures see

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