Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world,
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.
No other shirt number in the annals of football carries such weight as the number nine, and few players have been as lauded as they who wear it. With misty eyes we tell stories about them; from Steve Bloomer, who was interned in Berlin during the first world war but who the fans of Derby County still sing about to this day, to Alfredo di Stefano, who scored in five European cup finals, and was on the winning side each time, to Gabriel Batistuta, once Argentina’s highest ever goalscorer, whose nickname told of what he did, what he lived for and what he gave to the world. Batigol.
Sebastian Polter wearing number 9, Foto: Matze Koch
Urs Fischer mulled over the first question he’d been asked, before speaking slowly. Very slowly. He placed his words deliberately, like a master builder laying a cornerstone. Because on top of them would come everything else, and if you get the first piece wrong then at some point the whole damn edifice will collapse.
But he’d just been asked how he was.
Urs Fischer during his press conference, Foto: Matze Koch
When he was 12 years old Steven Skrzybski scored against Hertha BSC in the season’s decisive fixture. Union had won every single game that year bar one in the cup. They had destroyed the competition, torn the league up, but here in the D-Jugend final they had conceded two stupid goals and 400 people were watching them trying not to throw all that promise away. The ball came to him on his right foot, where he likes it best, and he raced on, drifting out towards the right, a trait he still has, but it looked like he had left too tight an angle to shoot.
Collin Quaner didn’t saunter out onto the pitch when his time had come He didn’t lope or lollop or swagger or stroll or any of the other terms that were lazily applied to him and his inferred laissez faire attitude during his earliest days at Union. No, he ran onto the pitch, his eyes blazing. He’d been annoyed over the last couple of weeks at missing out, at running the risk of losing his place to one of the many would be usurpers clogging up the striking ranks in Köpenick. For he had hit his stride, he had scored as many goals already this season as he had in the first four years of his career and then his fucking shoulder went.
So on his return, with time running out, he made sure we noticed as he Ran onto the pitch.
Jens Keller looked sterner and less patient than he does in photographs. And somehow younger, too, at the same time. Like a silver haired Tintin with a sore head. He had already been waiting for a couple of minutes, tapping at the sides of his espresso cup as he tetchily drained away the contents, pacing slightly, tentatively, next to his lectern. He was still fuming about the goals.
Uwe Neuhaus (r.) und Jens Keller, Foto: Matze Koch
Wenn ihr die Mittagspause heute etwas vorzieht, könnt ihr die Pressekonferenz vor dem Spiel gegen den 1. FC Kaiserslautern sehen. Ab 11 Uhr seid ihr bei AFTV dabei.
Thematisch ist es etwas mau bei Union. Liegt vielleicht auch am ausgeweiteten Geheimtraining, das die Möglichkeit nimmt, die Mannschaft zu beobachten, auf Details zu achten und ein Gefühl für mögliche Startaufstellung zu bekommen. Ich hoffe, dass Norbert Düwel das jetzt nicht zur Regel macht.