The means by which some sporting teams assumed the form that they currently have can be extraordinarily complex. The financial pressures of maintaining a football club, particularly in the three national leagues where travel and club registration are both significant costs even before you get into areas like player wages, can be very difficult to manage and sometimes result in bankruptcies and mergers. Trying to maintain reserve and youth teams increases those costs even more, which is why a number of the current 3.Liga teams no longer maintain a reserve side. Even for teams who maintain a date in their name, to emphasize their history and heritage, the actual details might be more complex than the simple name suggests. An example of just such a team is the current 3.Liga leaders, SC Paderborn 07.
Although the name suggests that the club have been around since 1907, this version of the club has only been around since 1997 when they changed their name from TuS Paderborn-Neuhaus. Even that name had only been in existence since June 1, 1985 when 1. FC Paderborn and TuS Schloß Neuhaus merged. 1.FC Paderborn were formed in 1969 with a merger between SV Paderborn and VfJ 08 Paderborn. VfJ 08 Paderborn (VfJ is a contraction of ‘Verein für Jugendpflege’ or ‘association for youth care’) originated in 1908 as FC Prussia Paderborn and the following year changed their name to VfB Paderborn. After another merger with TV Jahn Paderborn they became VfJ in 1920. SV Paderborn dated their origin back to October 12, 1913 when some former players from FC Prussia Paderborn decided to form a new team. During World War II they had been part of temporary merger with VfJ but separated after the war was over before their final merger in 1969. Current Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach Dieter Hecking played the last of his youth football with 1.FC Paderborn.
TuS (the letters are an abbreviation of ‘Turnverein [Gymnastics Assocation] Sportsclub’) Schloß Neuhaus had been a team that had achieved some success, including a season in the Bundesliga 2 in 1982/83. The ‘Lords of the Castle’ (which was their nickname because of the castle or ‘schloß’ which gives the area to the north west of Paderborn its name) may have only lasted one season there before they went back down to the Oberliga Westphalia but had achieved victories over teams such as FC Augsburg and SV Darmstadt 98 in the process. However, even that club had only been around since June 8, 1973 when SV 07 Neuhaus merged with TuS Sennelager. TuS Sennelager were founded on September 10, 1910 as VfB Senne, changed their name to TuS Senne in 1913 and then became TuS Sennelager in 1945. SV 07 Neuhaus had been founded on August14, 1907 (which is where the modern day SC Paderborn 07 get the ‘07’ part of their name) as Arminia Neuhaus, then changed their name to Concordia Neuhaus, before becoming SV 07 Neuhaus in 1919.
It made sense for the new club to hold on to the Paderborn name because it is a significant city of which Schloß Neuhaus and Sennelager are suburbs. It was founded by Charlemagne in 777 when he had a castle built near the springs that become the Pader River (Paderborn means ‘source of the Pader’). In 795 he declared it a bishopric and a cathedral was built where, in 799, Pope Leo III came to meet him and the decision was made to have Charlemagne declared as Holy Roman Emperor. In 836 the remains of St. Liborius of Le Mans were transferred to the cathedral and the city celebrates a festival (Libori) in the week following July 23 (which is the feast day of St. Liborius). During the succeeding centuries both the cathedral and the city have suffered from fire and other damage, including about 85% of the city being destroyed during bombing in 1945. Paderborn today has close to 150 000 residents with another 10 000 being part of the British military based at the Westfalen Garrison.
Sadly, one of the things for which the football club SC Paderborn 07 is notorious is their participation in a game that was shown to be part of a match fixing scandal back in 2004. It was August 21 and the first round of the DFB Pokal for that year featured Hamburger SV away to SC Paderborn 07. After two early goals for Christian Rahn and Emile Mpenza it looked like Hamburg would find it easy. However, in the 35th minute a bizarre penalty was given to Paderborn and Mpenza was sent off for protesting. Three more goals, including a second controversial penalty, were to follow and the home team ran out surprise 4:2 victors. SC Paderborn 07 won their next game before being knocked out by SC Freiburg on penalties in the round of 16. However, it later emerged that the referee, Robert Hoyzer, had been taking money from a Croatian gambling syndicate and this was one of the matches that had been influenced. At that time Paderborn were part of the Regionalliga Nord (one of the predecessors to the current 3.Liga).
However, for some of us it might not feel like that long ago that SC Paderborn 07 was a part of the Bundesliga and we might even be surprised to find them currently in the 3.Liga. In truth it could have even been worse. In fact they spent the 2014/15 season in the Bundesliga during which they finished 18th and were relegated to the Bundesliga 2. The following season they also finished 18th, this time in the Bundesliga 2 and were relegated to the 3.Liga. In 2016/17 they once more finished 18th, now in the 3.Liga, and would have been relegated to the Regionaliga except that 1860 Munich, when they were relegated from Bundesliga 2, decided not to pay the fee for entry into the 3.Liga and dropped a further step down to the Regionaliga themselves, granting SC Paderborn 07 a reprieve.
So far this season they have been doing their best to make the most of this reprieve. They reached the top of the table on Matchday 4 and since that time they have been only lower than first once, on goal difference to their visitors today, Fortuna Köln. They scored 44 goals in the first 18 Matchdays, a full seven more than the next best side (SV Wehen Wiesbaden), while only conceding 24. However, after going 6 points clear on Matchday 15 the last two weeks have seen consecutive losses, first 0:2 at home to Karlsruher SC, then last week 4:1 away to Wiesbaden. The loss to Karlsruher was not only their first loss at home all season, it represented the first time they had even dropped points at home, so the Benteler Arena has been a fortress for them so far. Yet they were coming off a couple of difficult games and probably feeling the need to reassert themselves.
Speaking of the Benteler Arena, it is relatively new; having been opened on July 16th, 2008 for a cost of 25 million euro (but two and a half years later than the original plan). The first opposition were Galatasaray S.K. from Turkey and then, a week later, Borussia Dortmund defeated SC Paderborn 07 2:1 in a friendly. It replaced the Hermann Löns Stadion that had been the home to TuS Schloß Neuhaus since 1957 (and which is now home to the Paderborn Dolphins American Football team). It has a capacity of 15 360, which places it in the middle of the pack when it comes to size in the 3.Liga but the average crowd that SC Paderborn have been attracting this season is the fifth largest at just under 7 700 (probably because this has been a very good year so far). On Matchdays regular buses to the stadium leave from opposite the main train station and a couple of other points in the city, alternatively there is a 3.5 km walk from the station to the Arena. It is a lovely and compact ground with no running track so the action feels very close.
On the first Matchday of the season I had seen SC Paderborn 07 playing away at Hallescher FC so it seemed somewhat fitting that on this last game of the first half of the season I was watching Paderborn again, this time at home. As the match was getting ready to begin it started snowing again (it was clear that it had snowed earlier from the ground outside but the pitch was clear) and there was also occasional snow falling in large chunks from the roof on to the area around the touchline. Unlike some of the other stadiums I have been to in the 3.Liga the ‘clock’ on the electronic scoreboard was counting down to game time, rather than showing the actual time. It was announced that the referee would be Bibiana Steinhaus which was also interesting as, earlier this year, she had become the first woman to referee a game in the Bundesliga. As is common the moments before the teams came out on the field were taken up with singing the local song and we were ready to get underway.
Much as they had when I had first seen them (unsurprisingly, because this was almost the same starting eleven) SC Paderborn 07 began with a quick tempo, high pressing game, making use of a lot of first time short passes and flicks. For the first 25 minutes they dominated possession without finding the killer finish (there were a large number of goal kicks being taken by Fortuna Köln’s Tim Boss). Michel was causing all sorts of problems with his quick turns and willingness to chase down anything. It was this latter quality that brought the first clear chance on 26 minutes when he was able to block an attempted clearance from Boss and the ball fell to Srbeny, almost on top of the penalty spot but he managed to push his first time shot just wide to the left.
Srbeny redeemed himself less than two minutes later however, when another pressing tackle gave Paderborn possession in the middle of the field and he threaded a beautifully weighted pass out to Antwi-Adjei on the left. He broke into the box and went almost to the goal line before cutting back and passing to Zolinski who was standing virtually where Srbeny had been minutes earlier. This time the shot was on target and Boss was unable to prevent the ball squeezing under his body and into the goal. Almost immediately from the restart Fortuna Köln responded. Some quick passing sent Dahmani through on the edge of the box on the right, from the goal line he sent a cross trying to find Kessel in the centre, instead the ball flicked the leg of Zingerle in the goal, bounced up into the leg of Boeder and dribbled into the back of the net.
In the next couple of minutes some fierce tackling saw a yellow card given to each team. First Krauße for Paderborn scythed down Ernst near the half way line wide on Köln’s right. Not long after, a run by Antwi-Adjei through the center of the field saw Kessel first try and pull him back by the shirt then, when that didn’t work, take his legs out from under him from behind. Decisive refereeing kept the game from getting out of hand and neither team had any right to feel aggrieved about either card. From the free kick another wonderful ball from the half way through the center put Srbeny through on goal again and once more his shot squeezed wide to the left, although this time he had already been flagged as just offside.
SC Paderborn 07 continued to dominate possession through the rest of the first half. It was clear that Fortuna Köln were trying to play similarly attractive football but their passes weren’t coming off and Paderborn were applying constant pressure on the ball carrier whenever they lost possession. There were claims for a penalty for Paderborn on 38 minutes when a ball was hit through toward Antwi-Adjei and he went down after bumping into Ernst just inside the box, however the ball had been well over his head so nobody seemed too upset when it wasn’t given. In the 41st minute another great piece of passing play put Roeder on goal on the right hand side of the penalty box. His first shot was blocked by Boss but the ball came straight back to him, however he stumbled over his follow up shot and Köln were able to clear. It was beginning to look like SC Paderborn 07 were not going to get the goal that their play and possession seemed to deserve.
From the resulting throw in the ball was hooked back into the box by Paderborn’s Zolinski and as it bounced hit Ernst on the arm which was stretched out from his body. Despite long and vociferous protests by the Fortuna Köln players it was a clear penalty and eventually Wassey stepped forward take it. Boss went the right way but was unable to prevent the ball going over his outstretched right arm however it seemed like, because of Wassey’s stutter step before hitting the ball, half the players on both sides had encroached into the box so he had to take it again. This time he struck the ball to Boss’ left and he was once more unable to keep it out. This time the goal stood and Paderborn went in at half time looking good value for their 2:1 lead and with Köln lucky to be only one goal down.
Fortuna Köln started the second half looking much more positive, stringing some passes together, applying a lot or pressure, having an early shot blocked and winning a corner. It was from that corner however that SC Paderborn 07 broke up the field through Srbeny and this time it was Ernst who grabbed a shirt to bring him down and receive a yellow card. This seemed to spur Paderborn on and within a couple of minutes they had their next chance. A good series of runs and passes led to Zolinski nutmegging Theisen to leave Antwi-Adjei open in the box, but once more the ball was propelled just wide of the left upright. Within a minute Michel made another break, out pacing the defense and one on one with Boss he also put the ball fractionally wide on the left. Had they been able to finish better Paderborn could have been 4 or 5 goals up.
It wasn’t long before they had their third goal however. A quick break from a Fortuna Köln free kick that was hit straight at Zingerle in the Paderborn goal saw another wonderful pass from Zolinski find Michel on the right. He took the ball to the goal line and hit it low, just out of reach of Boss, to Srbeny waiting on the far side of the goal for a simple tap in. For the rest of the match it seemed clear who was going to win. Fortuna Köln made a number of changes to try and alter the outcome but by the last ten minutes they were simply thumping balls deep in hope that they would fall fortuitously. Meanwhile Baumgart eventually gave rests to Srbeny, Zolinski and Antwi-Adjei who had each worked extremely hard. It seemed a shame that neither Michel nor Antwi-Adjei had got on the score sheet, given the penetration of their running and passing, but they had both spurned chances that they probably wish they could have again.
It was clear, watching them, that SC Paderborn 07 are a good football side and justify their position at the top of the table. Other results mean that they are only ahead of 1.FC Magdeburn on goal difference but there is a seven-point gap back to SV Wehen Wiesbaden in third. The Benteler Arena is a fun place to watch a game of football because you feel like you are close to the action and the fans are passionate about their team. Half way through the season and I have attended twelve games at eleven different stadia. I have watched 18 of the 20 teams play and next week I have a ticket to see the Saxony derby between one of the teams I am missing, FSV Zwickau, and Chemnitzer FC. Hopefully those of you reading these pieces are enjoying them as much as I am enjoying going to the games.
If you wish to watch the whole match, it can be found here.