Thursday, 1 March 2018

Mark Flekken & The Warhol Moment

MSV Duisburg  2  FC Ingolstadt 04  1

Bundesliga 2

The World was a pretty good place for Duisburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

It was seventeenth minute of the home game with FC Ingolstadt and he’d just watched Enis Hajri head the ball home from a corner kick, so as far as he was concerned it was 2-0 to the hosts following Ahmet Engin’s opening goal a few minutes earlier. This came on the back of the Dutch goalkeeper only moments earlier having pulled off a superb penalty save from Stefan Kutschke, so those few minutes must have been very sweet indeed.

The crowd were on their feet, the DJ played the obligatory celebratory music as they do in Germany, but down by the corner flag the linesman was having none of it, up went the flag, Hajri was adjudged offside, wrongly it subsequently transpired.

By now, Flekken, who had raced to the half way line to celebrate, was ambling back towards his own goal, taking in the applause from the celebrating Duisburg Ultra’s in the North Stand. Little did he know, along with the stadium DJ and a good number of supporters, that the goal had been chalked off, and by now the visitors were looking at moving the ball forward quickly.

The Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena - Taken From My Drone
The ball was pumped to the half way line where it was then launched towards the goal. Flekken by now was in the back of his net picking up his water bottle, while Kutschke, seeing the opportunity charged forward unchallenged, and steered the ball into the net, at just the moment Flekken turned round wondering what all the commotion was.

For a short while it was chaos. The home supporters were stunned, the home players protested, on what grounds I have no idea, but protest they did, clearly to no avail. Poor old Mark Flekken had his hands on his hips and his head was bowed, he’d just had his Andy Warhol moment, his fifteen minutes of fame, although what then transpired would equate to a little more than fifteen minutes!

Before the game had even finished, the incident had gone viral, it was all over Social Media, Sky Sports had picked up on it, he had become the most famous Dutch goalkeeper on the planet. He was going to be getting attention like he could never have dreamed of.

Away Fans To The Left 
In the end though, it didn’t make a difference to the outcome. Ingolstadt had Almog Cohen sent off on the stroke of half time for a high foot (very harsh if you ask me), and then with the man advantage, Borys Tashchy netted a 66th minute winner from the penalty spot. Duisburg deserved the victory against a side that were relegated from the Bundesliga last season, and move to fourth in the table, strengthening hopes of achieving a play-off berth just one season after winning the third tier of football in Germany.

From Our Seats - You Wouldn't Think It Was Minus Five?
It was a relatively late decision to head to Duisburg. The original intention had been to go and see KFC Uerdingen play Westfalia Rhynern in the Regionalliga West, but given the sub-zero temperatures that had befallen the area over the past 48 hours, our game, like many others, was called off on the Friday afternoon.

Choices were limited, and Mrs H had never been to Germany before, so knowing that Duisburg had the benefit of undersoil heating, and getting tickets would not be an issue, it was the obvious and best choice to make.

It wasn’t my first visit to MSV Duisburg, we went last season and saw them play VFR Aalen, and to be fair we were all impressed with the stadium and the atmosphere that day, so going back was never going to be a hardship.

The Posh Seat Opposite
Duisburg is an hours drive from Duiven and the stadium is only a couple of minutes from the motorway, so we were parked up, with tickets, and a pint in hand a good hour before the scheduled kick off. It was a case trying to keep warm for as long as possible in a nearby community centre knowing that very shortly we’d be exposed to some pretty cold conditions outside.

The stadium is very impressive, holding around 30,000, it’s a relatively new built arena with two tier stands on all four sides, albeit behind the North goal sits an area of terracing where the hard core Duisburg support resides, while a smaller section of terracing sits behind the South goal and that houses the visiting supporters of which today there weren’t many.

As is always the case, despite the ground being less than half full (12,444 in attendance), the atmosphere was excellent, and with beer and bratwurst readily available, it really does create a very good football watching experience in Germany.

Soft Rock Club Song Time
Our seats were in the lower tier of the East Stand so we had excellent views of the action, yet with a bright sun low in the sky, it was actually pleasantly warm where we sat, despite temperatures being well below freezing.

We had the obligatory soft-rock club songs and flag waving before kick off, and then the action started, and indeed finished, with the home side taking the three points.

But, the talking point was, and still is THAT goal conceded by the unfortunate Mark Flekken. He seems to have taken it in good spirits though, his water bottle is being auctioned off for the benefit of the ZebraKids who help socially disadvantaged children in the area, and I suspect he’s guaranteed a slot on the next series of Question of Sport.

It won’t do him any harm in the long run though, look at what happened to fellow goalkeeper Peter Enckelman’s career after the Blues v Villa own goal debacle……or maybe not eh?

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