Every now and then, Kimmo Vallema blogs about his floorball experiences in Germany. Want to know more about him? Click here to read his introduction article.
The Cup-Competition in Germany
“It’s me again. Last I wrote a lengthy summary, about the league-system in Germany. Well… it is not the only competition in the country. No, I am not talking about the small-field (3×3) competition, but rather the Cup (Pokal). This is the chance for any team in Germany to take on the big ones and perhaps bask in the glory for a while.
A cup-competition here is, much like most other countries, a competition that is basically: kill or get killed, until the end. By the by-laws of the German Floorball Federation, all 1st Bundesliga Teams are required to take part, but in addition, there are teams from all levels. If your club can muster 10 + Goalie, you can enter. Sure it costs the teams some money, but it actually has potentially quite a large impact on the smaller clubs.
As I am writing this, the teams are still signing up for the competition so I do not know how many teams will be participating but I believe it was in the men’s competition 69 teams last year whilst women mustered 17 teams. The competition will then take place through the year and culminating in a big floorball-event for the Final 4 teams. They come together in one place (2020 will be in Berlin) and play 2 semi-finals on Saturday and finally “Bronze”-game and the Final on Sunday.
Hobby team vs. the German Champion
The matchups for every round go through a lottery, although the 1st Bundesliga teams only enter the competition in round #2. Over the years, this competition has created some exciting matchups and upsets, although normally at the end, the best come out on top. Like I said, for the first Bundesliga teams this is a “required” event whereas the lower-league teams sometimes take part just to get a chance to play against the best. Even if the matchups at times turn out quite brutal for some teams… imagine a hobby team meeting up with the German Champion, the end result is often written in the stars already before the game even took place.
“Last year, we played three rounds and sat in the bus for 2.300 km before we got our first home game.”
However, it is not only about “getting through” for some teams. This type of competition is a welcome injection of renewed energy and motivation for the smaller floorballing-communities across Germany. It can be an enormous impact for that team that struggles week after week to come train together. Suddenly they can go to their juniors, their sponsors, their communities and say “come and see your team take on the best”. It can really be a boost for many juniors wanting to see how the “best in Germany” play and perhaps themselves then finding that extra energy to practice a little more, perhaps even bring a friend to the game and bring some new faces to their club. Same goes for the audiences. Everybody loves an underdog and what is a better marketing tool than to be able to tell your community that it is the floorball version of “rebels” against the “Empire”.
Home advantage for lowest team
Oh, forgot to mention, that all the way up until the Final4, it is always the “lower league” team that has automatic home-advantage (as long as they do not forget to claim it). So those Bezirksliga (lowest level)-teams have a chance to go up against the best in front of their home-audiences.
While this system is perhaps the best system for the smaller teams, it is also not without some negatives. The quality of play does vary in Germany still quite a lot. So results of 20-0 are not exactly a rarity in the early rounds of the competition. Not only that, in case you have not noticed, Germany is geographically relatively big. This means that a team in the Bundesliga will basically be only playing away-games until the final rounds. From personal experience, I can tell you that last year we (DJK Holzbüttgen) played three rounds (Halle, Stuttgart, and Lilienthal) and sat in the bus for 2.300 km before we got our first home game. This, of course, carries a cost as well, both financial as well as time and effort.
Once all the elimination-rounds are finally over, around Jan/Feb, it is time for the Final 4 to sort them out. Well before getting to that, there is this one peculiarity (there always is for some reason). The elimination-rounds are actually played until they find the final 3 teams… then add to that the team that organizes the final tournament and you have the set. One could argue that this is not exactly fair as the organizing team did not have to prove themselves but got rather a free-pass til the final tournament. Whatever your opinion might be, this is how it is played and has been played for some time now.
Personally, I had a chance to participate once myself with our team and I have to say, it was an enormous kick of energy that went through our organization and gave us the confidence to climb up to the 1st league ourselves soon after. If anyone is interested, I did write a small article on the DJK Holzbüttgen Website at the time. You can read it from there should you be interested.
The event, being a complete weekend, is an opportunity for the entire floorball-playing community in Germany come together and see not only what the best of the best in Germany have to offer on the field, but also a number of side-events. The usual vendors are there with their stands but also mini-training camps for junior-talent as well as junior-tournament take place. When you add to that the live-streaming of the events, it is really Floorball Germany showcasing their sport to the world. One could argue this event is even bigger than the League-Championship purely due to its nature. One game, one winner together with the side-events and 4 best teams participating. This is something the league-finals can really never compete with. The league-finals are usually best of 3 and played in the home-halls of the two respective teams in front of their home-crowds. The cup having 4 teams for single-games, simply pulls more people and creates for a more exciting finish.
Cup winner Lilienthal (probably) not able to win again
The current Cup-Champion in Germany is TV Lilienthal, however, they will not be there with the Cup-winning team to defend their title. They managed to oust UHC Sparkasse Weißenfels in the semi-finals after an exciting game that ended on Golden Goal in overtime. In finals, they met Red Devils Wernigerode, that had in an equally exciting game ousted MFBC Leipzig (later crowned as the League Champions) also on a golden goal in overtime. In the final, it was TV Lilienthal that had decided to go out in style.
Due to various reasons, TV Lilienthal had previously announced that they would be giving away their league-Lizenz at the end of the season. They had certainly decided to leave on a high, however, and managed with an 8-5 victory over Wernigerode to walk away with the Cup. Now having said that, TV Lilienthal as a club does still exist and they continue to play floorball. Whose to say they could not successfully defend their title in the upcoming season. Never know. However, they will be facing a battle considering most of the squad dispersed soon after to look for other teams.
So much for the German Cup. It is fun and exciting and culminates in the end in a big weekend of fun for all. So who would not love it… well apart from the treasurers in the clubs having to travel a lot.
Whilst we are waiting for the clubs to sign up, we can perhaps in the upcoming weeks take a little bit more detailed look on the upcoming 1st Bundesliga Season 19-20. I will do some write-ups on each team so you get to know the principles involved.
Until then, I am off to enjoy some cool weather for a change!
Any thoughts about floorball in Germany? Or questions you’d like to ask to Kimmo? Let us know by sending an email to [email protected] or contacting us through social media!