Turkey raid GDR after fantastic goalkeeping display by Engin
Matchday 7 saw the return fixture from the previous matchday, when Turkey had impressively triumphed 3-1 at home to East Germany on the last day of November. The East Germans could ill afford to lose once again, though already successive defeats against the Turkish, which included a similar 3-1 loss in a March ’87 friendly, would’ve made them realize that they were in for a seriously difficult match, despite the home advantage. The hosts had got rid of their manager Bernd Stange since the encounter in Istanbul, and this was his successor Manfred Zapf’s fourth game in charge, and his first qualifier. It is worth noting that Zapf, a Magdeburg stalwart during his playing days, was back ‘home’. Tınaz Tırpan had overseen a 1-0 away win for the visitors against neighbours Greece in their only winter friendly, and they looked to follow up some momentum with another solid performance in a tough fixture.
East Germany team news
Ahead of this important fixture, the East Germans had been rocked by a number of casualties, and the notable issue was that it had bereft them of no less than three potential full-backs: Ronald Kreer, Detlef Schößler (the Magdeburg captain unable to feature in his very home ground) and Matthias Döschner. Three weeks earlier, they had been held to a 1-1 home draw against Finland in the final of their three qualification winter break friendlies, a series which had also seen them win heavily in Egypt (4-0) and lose in Greece (3-2).
With the new regime coming in, GDR had looked to change their formation. They had previously been seen in 4-4-2 for both of their first two qualifiers, though Manfred Zapf appeared to be a fan of three rather than four across the back. He had also made former libero Dirk Stahmann, another Magdeburg player, surplus to requirements, rather installing BFC Dynamo’s Frank Rohde for this position. Whereas Stahmann was a big, burly defender whose physical prowess saw him relish battle, Rohde was perhaps somewhat more raffined in his approach, far from being useless in possession. When Dynamo Berlin on April 1 had triumphed 1-0 against Karl-Marx-Stadt in the East German cup final to retain the trophy, skipper Rohde had been played in midfield by manager Jürgen Bogs, who cited: “I needed his creative energy further forward in the pitch.” Even if Zapf had wanted Stahmann’s service for this clash, the defender was unavailable through injury.
The absence of wide players, not just defenders, was indeed a problem. Not just the previously mentioned trio could’ve provided width; the same went for Rico Steinmann. The 21 year old Karl-Marx-Stadt profile, who had featured in both qualifiers so far, had not played in the before mentioned cup final due to an injury he had picked up in the 2-1 semi-final win against Wismut Aue the previous month. Two further players missing from the squad were Dynamo Berlin’s Rainer Ernst, who could have played out wide if need be, and Lokomotive Leipzig striker Damian Halata, who had scored one of East Germany’s goals during the 3-2 defeat in Greece the previous month. Zapf explained that Halata had not been selected ‘due to his lack of form’.
Dynamo Berlin had won the Oberliga for no less than ten successive seasons, but this time around they were struggling to come to terms with league leaders Dynamo Dresden, who were seven points clear of second placed Hansa Rostock, with BFC (as Dynamo Berlin were colloquially referred to) a further two points behind the northern outfit in third place. The Dresden club had the previous week lost 1-0 away to Bundesliga side Stuttgart in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-final, and had the return leg coming up the following Wednesday. No less than seven of their players were among the squad of 16 for the visit of the Turkish. In particular Dresden’s midfield seemed strong, with all of Hans-Uwe Pilz, Matthias Sammer, Jörg Stübner and the recalled Ralf Minge very much in contention for starting berths. The aerially strong Minge, with 35 caps to his name, had not featured for the national team since the 1-0 away win against France in the last match of the 1988 European Championships qualification in November ’87.
Previous team captain, goalkeeper René Müller of Lokomotive Leipzig, had been reinstalled as the number one under Zapf, which meant that Jörg Weißflog, who had kept goal for both of GDR’s two qualifiers thus far, had to be content with a place on the subs’ bench. Müller had already won 45 caps for his country, 29 of them as a captain.
Zapf was well aware of Turkey’s midfield flexibility, and perhaps did this absence of several wide men give him a valid excuse for packing his engine room with a lot of men, and thus trying to deny the Turkish space in the centre. He had also made a few quite interesting squad inclusions in 19 year old midfielder Dariusz Wosz from Halle, 22 year old local forward Marcus Wuckel and 23 year old midfield man Sven Köhler from Karl-Marx-Stadt. All three had already made their debuts with the national side.
Turkey team news
The Turkish would go top of the group if they managed to avoid defeat in East Germany. They appeared in confident mood prior to the game, and manager Tınaz Tırpan had been quoted saying “I am not searching for a good team; I have one”. Successive 3-1 home wins against GDR had made them believe that this afternoon’s opponent was a good fit for them. Turkey did not travel well, not having won an away qualifier since a 2-1 win in Malta almost ten years earlier. However, fine performances, not always coupled with the wanted outcome, had brought renewed optimism for the national team, something which had been aided by Galatasaray’s wonderful run in the European Cup, where they had reached the semi-finals. A week earlier, the Istanbul club had lost 4-0 away to Steaua București, and so their marvellous European adventure seemed to be coming to an end, but it had nevertheless been a tremendous achievement to get that far. The return leg, even if it seemed immaterial, was coming up on April 19. With five players among the 16 man matchday squad, Galatasaray were easily the leading supplier of players to the national team.
There had been a tragic event striking Turkish domestic football during the winter, with the team bus of Samsunspor, including goalkeeper Fatih Uraz, who had left a fine impression during Turkey’s three late 1988 qualifiers, colliding with a truck en route to an away match with Malatyaspor on January 20. Two of their players (a third, Yugoslavian Zoran Tomić, went into a coma, and would pass away five months later), their manager and the bus driver had been killed instantly, whereas several others had been injured, some of them severely. Unfortunately, Fatih was in the latter category. The talented stopper, aged 28 when the accident occured, would never again feature at top level. These sad cirumstances saw Tınaz having to look for a replacement, and the choice fell on Engin İpekoğlu of Sakaryaspor, a 27 year old who had been the back-up ‘keeper for their first two qualifiers, but who had not made his international debut until that recent 1-0 friendly win in Greece.
The Turkish had been able to call upon all of the players who had been in the starting eleven in the home match against the East Germans four and a half months earlier, bar Fatih. However, there had been an interesting recall for the strong Yusuf Altıntaş, one from their Galatasaray contingent, who had not featured since the 3-2 home defeat by Yugoslavia during the previous qualification. The 27 year old, with 21 caps to his name, had even scored one of Turkey’s goals in that December ’87 fixture. He was seen very much as a defensive player, so perhaps was this a sign that Tınaz would not look to replicate the attacking formation which he had utilised for the home clash with the East Germans, when they had successively started with three men up front.
Two of the three who had played in forward roles during the 3-1 home win in November had been selected for a ‘World XI’ for a match against Brazil in the Italian city of Udine on March 27: Rıdvan Dilmen and Tanju Çolak. This had been a further indication of Turkish football’s internationally increased reputation: They were a footballing country on the up.
Among their substitutes were midfielders Erdal Keser and Mustafa Yücedağ. The former had yet not been a feature in any of Turkey’s three qualification matchday squads, whereas Mustafa had played the full 90 during the 3-2 defeat in Austria. There was also the versatile Gökhan Gedikali, who had been at centre-back in Vienna, but who had been sacrificed with Turkey 3-0 down and Tınaz looking to alter his formation to try and find a way back into the game. The 23 year old Ankaragücü man, with four previous caps, was also capable of playing in midfield. In addition, they had 30 year old Süleyman of Bolaspor as their second choice ‘keeper behind Engin. Süleyman had held the same post in the November fixture between these two.
35 year old Dane Jan Damgaard had been put in charge of the fixture. This was already his sixth international, and he had made his debut almost three years earlier during a 0-0 draw in Sweden between the hosts and the Soviet Union. Damgaard would be officiating for the second time during the on-going qualification, having also been the man in black during the Netherlands’ 1-0 win against Wales in September the year before. This was his second time officiating in East Germany, having earlier overseen a 0-0 friendly draw with Hungary in Leipzig (July ’87), where five of the same GDR men had been starters (Müller, Rohde, Lindner, Thom and Minge). He had previously not been refereeing the Turkish.
The weather was nice. Spring had arrived in Central and Eastern Europe, and the commentator mentions the temperature as “fast sommerlich” (“almost summer-like”). Flag poles atop the stadium walls are clearly indicating that there is some wind, something which appears to be playing into the faces of the opponents during the first half. It is difficult to say whether the wind is constant, though. The pitch seems dry and bumpy.
This was the fifth clash between the two countries, and as mentioned previously, Turkey had won both of the two most recent encounters, and both by 3-1 at home. They had also met in the qualification for the 1978 World Cup, when Turkey had held their hosts to a 1-1 draw in Leipzig, whereas the East Germans had won 2-1 in the return fixture in Izmir a year later (November 1976 and 1977). This had been GDR’s only triumph against the Turkish.
East Germany (3-5-2)
|1 René Müller (c)||30||Lokomotive Leipzig|
|2 Ralf Hauptmann||20||Dynamo Dresden|
|3 Frank Rohde||29||Dynamo Berlin|
|4 Andreas Trautmann||29||Dynamo Dresden|
|5 Matthias Lindner||23||Lokomotive Leipzig|
|6 Jörg Stübner||sub 64′||23||Dynamo Dresden|
|7 Matthias Sammer||42′||21||Dynamo Dresden|
|8 Hans-Uwe Pilz||sub 19′||30||Dynamo Dresden|
|9 Ulf Kirsten||23||Dynamo Dresden|
|10 Ralf Minge||28||Dynamo Dresden|
|11 Andreas Thom||23||Dynamo Berlin|
|12 Sven Köhler||23||Karl-Marx-Stadt|
|13 Dariusz Wosz||19||Hallescher Chemie|
|14 Marcus Wuckel||on 64′||22||Magdeburg|
|15 Thomas Doll||on 19′||23||Dynamo Berlin|
|16 Jörg Weißflog||32||Wismut Aue|
|1 Engin İpekoğlu||27||Sakaryaspor|
|2 Recep Çetin||23||Beşiktaş|
|3 Semih Yuvakuran||25||Galatasaray|
|4 Cüneyt Tanman (c)||60′||33||Galatasaray|
|5 Gökhan Keskin||23||Beşiktaş|
|6 Yusuf Altıntaş||26′||27||Galatasaray|
|7 Uğur Tütüneker||49′, sub 65′||25||Galatasaray|
|8 Rıdvan Dilmen||26||Fenerbahçe|
|9 Oğuz Çetin||sub 80′||26||Fenerbahçe|
|10 Tanju Çolak||25||Galatasaray|
|11 Ünal Karaman||76′||22||Malatyaspor|
|12 Süleyman Kocakara||30||Boluspor|
|13 Mustafa Yücedağ||22||Sarıyer|
|14 Gökhan Gedikali||on 80′||23||Ankaragücü|
|15 Erdal Keser||on 65′||27||Sarıyer|
|16 Feyyaz Uçar||25||Beşiktaş|
The visitors get the match under way, and it will soon become clear that both teams have made some interesting twists to their tactical tale. Both sides had the chance to go top: East Germany through a win, Turkey through avoiding defeat. However, the hosts would be very keen to avenge the 3-1 defeat in Istanbul less than six months earlier, and it would be they who would take the game to their opponents.
One minute and 29 seconds into the game, the visitors have their first attempt at goal, when the reinstated René Müller has to dive down low to his right to keep out a speculative effort from Tanju, who had received the ball when Rıdvan’s marker Ralf Hauptmann, the 20 year young curly-haired defender who had made his debut for the national team three weeks earlier as Finland had held the GDR to a 1-1 draw in Dresden, had won an aerial challenge on the edge of the penalty area, but only reached the alert Tanju with his header. Having seen the goal ace score twice in their previous meeting in Istanbul, East Germany would’ve been very aware of him, and so this is the kind of opportunity that they should not be gifting a goalscorer of Tanju’s status. Perhaps was Tanju more dangerous when operating inside the box, but he was also no stranger to scoring from distance.
East Germany want too much
The opening sequences reveal that the hosts almost try too hard. They are so aware of the meaning of two points from this fixture, and so their play becomes somewhat cramped. The dry, bumpy pitch does not aid their cause a lot, as keeping the ball under control often needs an extra touch, and so the East Germans struggle to maintain much of a flow. However, they were usually very sound at home, having not lost any home qualifier in four and a half years, and with the Turkish’ rarely travelling well, it would take a big effort from the visitors to dent the hosts in their tracks. However, Turkey do get some assistance from the home players themselves, and the opening quarter of an hour does not see new goalkeeper Engin tested whatsoever. Engin was the new feature in the Turkey select due to the very unfortunate circumstances under which his predecessor Fatih had been adjudged ineligible. Despite not having a save to make in the early exchanges, the 27 year old from Sakaryaspor does leave a reliable impression, alert to any attempted through ball from the home side’s midfielders in the direction of either forward.
East Germany have abandoned the 4-4-2 formation under which they had been operating whilst Bernd Stange had been in charge, or at least during the latter stages of his tenure. On this occasion, it could be claimed that they were in a 3-5-2, or a 3-4-1-2 to be more specific. At the back, the recalled Müller had even won back his captaincy, and so, on his 46th international appearance, the 30 year old Lokomotive Leipzig stopper succeeded forward Andreas Thom wearing the captain’s armband. It remains unclear why Müller had not been a selectee for Stange’s final few games in charge, with Jörg Weißflog featuring as the GDR goalkeeper for both of their first two qualifiers. During the time when Müller had been out of the national side, he had kept giving sound displays for his club team.
Brought back into the side at libero was 29 year old Frank Rohde. He had not taken part during their first two qualifiers, when Dirk Stahmann had been Stange’s choice for this vital position. However, with this being Manfred Zapf’s fourth match in charge of the national side, he had immediately made the stance to build his side around the flexible Rohde, who had a wealth of experience at both club and international level. Rohde did seem a more natural fit for the libero role than the rugged Stahmann, whose ability to build from the back was not of the same calibre as that of Rohde, who certainly was no stranger to carrying the ball in the forward direction. Around him, Rohde had two man-markers in the already mentioned Hauptmann, who was indeed looking after Rıdvan, whereas Hauptmann’s Dynamo Dresden team mate Andreas Trautmann needed to keep a watchful eye on Tanju. With Rıdvan often orientating himself out towards the right hand side of the Turkish attack, this meant that Hauptmann was typically seen to Rohde’s left, with Trautmann more to the libero’s right.
The common thread running through the hosts’ side was the large amount of Dynamo Dresden players present. Not that this should be a surprise, as they were the run-away leaders of the domestic league, and they had only the previous midweek played the first leg of the UEFA Cup semi-final, when they had gone down 1-0 away to Bundesliga side Stuttgart. No less than seven starters hailed from the Dresden collective, and four from the midfield five were players of their’s. It is difficult to say whether Zapf would’ve kept faith in Jörg Stübner as his right-sided midfield alternative had either of Detlef Schößler or Ronald Kreer been available to him. Stübner, a strong runner, did not seem a natural fit for a wide position, but he was the player who would be loyal to the system no matter where he was positioned. Playing along the right hand side, he would also have to attend to Turkey left-back Semih’s ventures forward.
There did not appear to be an obvious left-sided midfield player, although it could be claimed that the sole non-Dresden man among the quintet, Matthias Lindner, had originally been fitted there. Lindner, a central defender in East Germany’s two earlier qualifiers, was quite a versatile player, and so he would be a useful presence as a defensive alibi in midfield. He was a tall, robust player, and perhaps was the idea also to have him monitor the situation immediately behind him, with Rıdvan so capable of causing havoc, despite being shadowed by Hauptmann. In the centre was duo Hans-Uwe Pilz and the youthful and enthusiastic Matthias Sammer. The latter, 21 years of age, was considered a huge talent, and he was already winning his eleventh cap. This was his first start of the ’90 qualification, though, having previously only replaced an injured Stübner during the first half in the 2-0 home win against Iceland. Pilz had been the East Germany stand-out performer during their 3-1 defeat in Istanbul, and the 30 year old was surely a key figure in the side. He had two fine feet; he could decide to use his slightly inferior left foot for swinging corner kicks into the box. He was another hugely disciplined player who brought a huge amount of running to the side, but he was also considered something of a playmaker. He would be starting as the deeper of the two in the centre, with Sammer more often the one leading the charge from midfield and into the final third of the pitch.
Immediately ahead of them, Pilz and Sammer had the physically imposing Ralf Minge in something of an attacking midfield capacity. Minge was an aerially very strong player, who would cause trouble in the opposition’s penalty area from attacking set-pieces. For one reason or another, he had not been a feature for the national side since the tail end of 1987. Despite holding a more central role than Dynamo Berlin man Rainer Ernst during the previous qualifier in Istanbul, Minge appeared to be Ernst’s direct replacement. Ernst had been withdrawn during half-time in Turkey, as Stange then had probably discovered that his starting line-up had been too attacking.
The two men up front were yet again duo Andreas Thom and Ulf Kirsten. They both seemed more or less automatic picks for any East Germany national team manager at this point, and despite them both still only being 23, they would be featuring at this level for the 44th and 37th time respectively. Kirsten, a bit like his Turkey counterpart Rıdvan, would occasionally seek towards right hand side territory, with Thom predominantly operating in a more central role. Thom, despite scoring in Turkey, had had a disappointing performance then, after his two goals had brought the side both points against Iceland in their inaugural ’90 qualifier. However, with three goals to his name from the first two qualification matches, he was still joint top scorer in the group with Turkey’s Tanju.
Large and vocal away following
The opening 20 minutes had been unspectacular, and the game had not brought about a lot of excitement for the crowd, among which there were about 2000 travelling Turkish. The visiting fans made sure to be heard, as they were very vociferous throughout, easily having been buoyed by that enterprising 3-1 win back in November ’88. The home fans were more reserved in their support for their team, even if the national team management had gone on record pre-match saying that “we need your vocal support more than ever!”
Pilz forced off
Zapf is forced into making an early change when the strong Pilz has to go off with what appears to be an injury sustained to his foot in a midfield challenge with Uğur as early as the tenth minute. Losing such an influental player would’ve been a huge disappointment to the manager.
Pilz had been seen hobbling around since that challenge, which had not been anything vicious, and certainly not the Turkey midfielder’s fault. He had also needed some time on the sidelines for medical attention, but it soon became clear that he was in no fit condition to continue. As Pilz was withdrawn, the manager brought on Thomas Doll, who had been a half-time replacement for Ernst during the game in Istanbul. This saw to some reshuffling, with Minge dropping back into central midfield alongside Sammer, with the latter taking over Pilz’ slightly deeper position. Doll would slot into Minge’s attacking midfield role, operating behind the front two.
The Turkish had left a strong impression during that 3-1 home win against the East Germans, when they had been enterprising and attacking. They had even given a decent account of themselves during that 3-2 defeat in Austria, when they had almost come back from 3-0 down to an efficient Austrian side. Their undoing so far had been the disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Iceland, but even there they should’ve won, having by far been the superior side during proceedings. Manager Tınaz appeared to have found his ideal player combination, after the Turkish had previously been known for changing and chopping players from one match to another. However, he would’ve realized that he could not set his team out in such an attacking formation as they had last time around, and so he had withdrawn forward Feyyaz, who had had a very good performance back in November, for a third central defender in the shape of the strong Yusuf Altıntaş, who would be making his first appearance of the ’90 qualification. Yusuf had been brought into the side to look after Andreas Thom, a task which he went about with great fervour.
With Engin stepping in for Fatih between the sticks, this meant that there were two changes from the eleven which had taken to the field in Istanbul last time around. As the libero, Tınaz had again picked Gökhan Keskin, a player whose reputation seemed to be growing by the month. Gökhan had been the designated defensive midfielder during their opening two qualifiers, but he had played a very good game leading from the back six months earlier. The fine Cüneyt, yet again Tınaz choice for captain, was alongside Yusuf and Gökhan at the heart of the visitors’ defence. Cüneyt was one of the Turkish key players, and the Galatasaray ace was also by far their most senior player, having turned 33 since their last qualification outing. He was one of five Galatasaray men in the starting eleven, with the Istanbul giants having performed so admirably during the European Cup campaign, reaching the semi-final stage where they had just lost 4-0 away to Steaua București the previous week.
Full-backs for a fourth time during this qualification were Recep (right) and Semih. In particular the latter was keen in going forward, although tactics had last time around seen him slightly less adventurous. Equipped with a sound left foot, he was not foreign to swinging crosses into the centre from his side, and he was also of decent size, and thus would win his share of headers. Recep was someone of more modest nature, although he was quite fiery in his approach, usually keeping himself inside his own half.
The Turkish midfield had certainly been adventurous so far in the qualification. With this being Tınaz’ already third different formation from four qualifiers, seeing how the trio shaped up sure made for interesting observation. In Ünal and Oğuz, they had a duo which clearly revelled playing alongside one another, whilst the hard running Uğur had added another dimension to their tactics during that 3-1 win in November. Ünal, so raffined through his close control and with his vision, had previously both played as an inverted left-sided man and in the centre, and on this occasion he had been chosen as the deep-lying player of the three. Uğur had been the midfield’s inside right for the visit of East Germany, but on this occasion he had been switched across to an inside left role. This meant that Oğuz, who had been the more central of the three last time around, would take over Uğur’s position as the inside right. Oğuz was also very sound in possession, and he would also contribute with some runs off the ball on this occasion, a feature of his game which we had previously during this qualification not seen a whole lot from. The main question which arose from these tactical dispositions by the Turkey boss was whether Ünal was strong enough defensively to hold the central defensive position.
Up front were the duo which had taken part in that ‘World XI’ show game against Brazil in Italy the previous month, as both Rıdvan and Tanju were making names for themselves even internationally. Tanju, with three qualification goals already to his name, though that should’ve been four, as he had missed a first half penalty in the opening game at home to Iceland, had been on fire in these two teams’ previous encounter, and it was also fair to say that the same had applied for Rıdvan, who had caused all sorts of trouble with his unorthodox playing style, usually attacking down the right hand side. Tanju had been the central striker among the three who had started in the home win against the East Germans, though on that occasion he had been playing slightly deeper than traditionally, also helping out back in midfield at times. Here, though, he was back up top, being looked after by experienced defender Trautmann.
Tanju strikes again!
So, what now, GDR, without Pilz? Well, there is not a whole lot of time for pondering, as they will fall behind just over two minutes after Pilz’ exit. The game had been quite scrappy up until this point, with a whole lot happening in the midfield region, and neither side had looked threatening yet. However, when Hauptmann switches off in his marking of Rıdvan, he will leave huge gaps for the wide forward to exploit, and when Kirsten’s stray header inside his own half only reaches Ünal, the Turkey midfielder can proceed to feed Oğuz just ahead of him. The Fenerbahçe man has already spotted Rıdvan in acres of space along the right, and with Trautmann on this occasion sitting deep as the last man of defence, there is no hint of an offside. Rıdvan does what Rıdvan does best, and he delievers a pin-point pass for his forward partner Tanju, who has an easy task of side-footing into an empty net as the ball in from the right had eluded Müller. The visitors had the lead, and now a host team without their perhaps most influental player would need to head back to the drawing board in search for answers.
GDR short in ideas
The hosts seem to have lost any idea of a plot after the exit of Pilz and then falling behind. They need a spark, although it is not provided by the silent home crowd, whose only displays of sentiment come when they whistle against their own players after further stray passes. Turkey, with their large 12th man contingent in the stands, are by now in charge, and they will have a couple of efforts from distance through Ünal, both shots hit along the ground, one with his left foot and one from his right. Neither manages to cause Müller much trouble. There’s then a first booking of the game, as Yusuf has come out towards the left hand touchline to challenge Sammer unfairly. He brings the midfield man down, and perhaps is the decision to book Yusuf a fair one, even if the challenge doesn’t look too nasty.
Rohde source of inspiration?
Around the 35 minute mark, there is at last some excitement for the home fans as Thom, so far lending a laxidaisical impression, finally got free as he tried to make inroads along the right hand side. His cross found the head strong Minge in the centre, though the header would eventually end up a couple of yards wide of Engin’s upright. Thom, who in the last few minutes had been interchanging positions with Doll, the attacking pair taking turns in operating just off the front line, had been a disappointment in Istanbul, and he did not do an awful lot to try and improve on this impression here. The East Germans sometimes looked to libero Rohde for inspiration, although yet the Dynamo Berlin man had predominantly kept himself inside their own half. He would occasionally hit it long for either Thom or Kirsten to chase, but all in all, the hosts seemed to lack much of an attacking plan. It is difficult to say whether this would’ve looked different had Hans-Uwe Pilz managed to remain on the pitch.
The Turkish defend astoutedly, leaving next to no space for the East German forwards to exploit. Gökhan is again giving a fine performance at libero, and their midfield three are more flexible than the home midfielders. Ünal is probably again their leading performer, and he seems to thrive even in this much deeper role than he had been seen in earlier during this qualification; he positions himself well. Around him, both Oğuz and Uğur were putting in big shifts. Ünal, through his delicate close control, would even draw a booking from Sammer, whose increasing frustration probably plays its part as he lunges after the Malatyaspor man just outside the visitors’ penalty area on 42 minutes.
Late home opportunity
A relatively dour spectacle is brought to a halt just shy of a minute into injury time. The Turkish have indeed looked the better side, even if their performance has, at times, been less than fluent. Again, Tınaz appeared to have got his tactics right, and should they manage to maintain this hold on the game through to full time, there’s every chance they will leave Dresden with a tremendous scalp in their bags. There had been a late scare for the visitors in the first half, though, as a punch from Engin after a left wing corner had only reached as far as Lindner to the right inside the visitors’ area. Lindner had struck the ball first time, and he had struck it well. However, the ‘keeper had been able to make a save to his left, beating the ball away for another GDR corner. Could this be something for the hosts to build on for the second half?
The teams reappear unchanged after the break, and this time around it is the hosts to kick proceedings under way. They do so through Dynamo Berlin duo Thomas Doll/Andreas Thom. The first half had not been a game for the purists, but it had ended on a brighter note for the home side, as they had finally managed to put Engin to the test through the late effort of Lindner. Could they follow this up with an improved second half performance? Turkey, on the other hand, would most likely be pleased to see more of the same, and should they manage to seal their first away qualifying victory since winning 2-1 in Malta almost ten years earlier, no one could deny them top spot in the group. They already now had the highest scorer in Tanju, and with Rıdvan the leading assist maker (three) in this qualifying group.
East Germany have a couple of players well capable of producing huge throw-ins, something which makes these set-piece situations nearly replicate flag kicks. The duo are defender Andreas Trautmann, who is the first choice, and midfielder Matthias Lindner, who can step in if he is originally nearer to the spot where the throw-in must be taken from. This had not caused any immediate alarm in the visiting defence during the first half, as Trautmann had only really had an early opportunity to deliever. Then too, a Turkish player had stood almost right on the touchline in the spot where the throw-in was taken, in order to prevent the throw-in taker from gaining great momentum. The referee had let it pass then, even if the Turkish player (Semih) had been bumped into by Trautmann. Early in the second half, Trautmann is given another chance to throw it big from the right hand side, and it is Uğur who comes wide to act as a disturbance to the East Germany man. As the Turkish midfielder makes a jump just as Trautmann releases his throw, he gets a talking to by the ref, and the throw is ordered to be retaken. When Uğur again makes a jump right on top of Trautmann, there is no way he escapes a yellow card.
GDR attack through the middle
The first ten minutes after the break show little indication of an East German breakthrough, although they are by far the superior team when it comes to possession. It is lack of creativity which is their main problem. There ought to be enough sources for inventiveness when you look at the names in their line-up, but as a unit, the players do not gel. There is a lack of width, which sees a lot of their play happen through the centre, where the Turkish defence is deep, compact and collected. There is a headed effort from Minge from a Doll right wing corner, but it goes well over, and there’s a missed shot from inside the area when Thom is unable to connect properly to a pass from Stübner. Lindner, who had had their best opportunity during the opening half, also again tested his shooting boot, but his effort from 22 yard was low, not very hard, and did not trouble Engin the least. At the same time, the hosts needed to be alert to any counter-attacking opportunity for the away side, and one such moment arose when Uğur had won an aerial challenge with Stübner and released Rıdvan along the right hand side. The speedy forward made it into the penalty area, and his effort was more likely an attempted cross back into the centre for Uğur, who had sped to provide an option for his team mate. However, Rıdvan’s final ball was a disappointment, and the chance was gone. Yet, they gave the East Germans a timely reminder of what they were capable.
Hosts win a penalty
The Turkish had not arrived in Magdeburg to entertain the crowd; they were there to get a result. And so far it was well within their grasp to get what they were after. They worked tirelessly as a unit, where in particular Ünal and Uğur gave committed defensive displays from midfield, and Yusuf kept sticking tight to Thom, not leaving much space for the East Germany star to shine. Ulf Kirsten got tackled quite hard by Semih on a couple of occasions early in the second half, and despite some endeavour, the Dresden striker had not made a great impact on the game thus far. All of this seemed to change, though, when the hosts were awarded a penalty on 59 minutes after Recep had clumsily brought Kirsten down inside the area. The decision clearly angered a lot of the Turkish players, who felt that the striker had made too much of the contact with the full-back. They protested heftily, and as Lindner is about to step up and dispatch the spot-kick, Tanju is seen walking back into the area. Yet, he would escape a booking, something which Turkey skipper Cüneyt for his protests would not. Nearly two minutes after the penalty had been given, Lindner could finally step up to shoot…and as he struck it low towards left with his right boot, he saw Engin make a terrific stop with his right arm, and the ball went out for a left wing corner. This sparked scenes among visiting players and fans alike akin to when they themselves had scored. Were Turkey to return home with two points in the luggage, they would owe their goalkeeper a great debt for shutting Lindner out from the penalty spot.
Lack of East German penalty takers
Why, though, had the East Germans decided to let defender cum midfielder Lindner take their penalty? There did not seem to be a designated penalty taker within the squad, at least not in the injury absence of Rico Steinmann, who was one of three players who had dispatched three penalties so far in the Oberliga season. At the time of this qualifier, Dynamo Dresden’s Torsten Gütschow was the league’s leading scorer with 13 goals from 19 matches. Three of his goals had come from 12 yards, but even if he had come on as a sub during their previous friendly, the 1-1 home draw with Finland, Gütschow had not been included in the squad for Turkey. Andreas Thom had scored nine from 18 matches in the league, though none of them had come from the spot. Ulf Kirsten had one more, and also none from the penalty spot. Thomas Doll had struck home a penalty at club level inside the last month, but was perhaps not considered the safest bet as he was ‘just’ a substitute? Oh, and the third player to have completed a hat-trick of penalties domestically? Wismut Aue’s 32 year old forward Harald Mothes. He had won his sole cap in a 2-1 friendly win against Czechoslovakia five years earlier.
Lindner has another go
In the wake of the missed penalty, there is activity on both benches suggesting that changes are imminent. The hosts seem to prepare local forward Marcus Wuckel for his second cap, almost two years after he had won his first. In the visitors’ camp, Tınaz is seen talking to midfield man Erdal, a player who had impressed East Germany assistant coach Heinz Werner, who had been their ‘spy’ during the recent friendly between Greece and Turkey. It had probably been something of a surprise to the East Germans that Erdal had not started the game. Before either manager has time to go ahead with any substitution, there’s yet another opportunity coming Matthias Lindner’s way, as he connects full on with the ball from 22 yards, just to the left of centre outside the area. His spectacular volley effort is struck with venom, but ‘keeper Engin is again equal to an effort from the Lokomotive Leipzig man, making a one-handed punch to see the ball returned back into open play. This latest wave of GDR attack will finally come to an end when Andreas Thom goes down inside the area, making a futile claim for a penalty after Yusuf’s alledged challenge. Thom ought to have been yellow-carded for a dive, like had happened to Turkey forward Rıdvan during their 3-2 defeat in Austria. “Eine Schwalbe macht natürlich keinen Fußballsommer“, as the East German commentator would add, not without a hint of sarcasm.
The two first second half changes take place within a minute of each other, when East Germany first let Wuckel on to the pitch as a replacement for the rather disappointing Stübner, whereas Turkey bring off Uğur in order to introduce Erdal to the audience. So, with a forward on for a midfielder, how will the hosts shape up ahead of the remaining 25 minutes? The Turkish substitution appears to be very straight forward, with Erdal slotting into Uğur’s inside left position.
East Germany go all out attack
With 20 minutes remaining, Turkey were still a goal to the good, even if they had been pinned back inside their own half for the majority of the second period. They did not seem duly worried with what the East Germans had been able to throw at them thus far, even if they’d had a lucky escape through Lindner’s missed penalty. After their second substitution, it appeared that GDR boss Zapf had thrown all caution to the wind, leaving four men up top in Kirsten, Thom, Doll and the recently arrived Wuckel. However, the lack of a creative source behind the strikers was still evident, even if there had been some hope that libero Rohde could have provided the necessary level of inspiration. So far, though, he had not carried much of a threat inside the opposition’s half, and the flame haired Sammer had also not often made brilliant use of the ball. There was Minge as well in the centre of the pitch, but even if he did rise to connect with some aerial delieveries into the box, he left a bit to be desired in open play. Centre mid did not appear to be Ralf Minge’s best match.
Turkey could catch hosts on the break
From the somewhat headless attacking formation among the hosts, it did seem likely that Turkey would be given opportunities on the counter. The hosts were by now playing a high risk game, something which they felt they could afford, given the defensive nature of the visitors. However, you’d ignore such a speedy forward as Rıdvan at your peril. And even if the Turkish midfield had yet in the second half not been able to maintain possession much, there was clearly enough ability among their trio to feed their forwards with precise through balls. Perhaps surprisingly, it is holding midfielder Ünal who is flagged off as he had been attempted to be played in behind the high East German defensive line by Tanju, and only moments later the same Ünal would be shown the yellow card for fouling Sammer midway inside his own half.
Sammer should’ve equalized
The game continues to have its moments of goalscoring opportunities, and just prior to having been felled by Ünal for the Turkish player’s booking, Sammer had timed to perfection a run into the area and arrived first to Wuckel’s cross from the right, only to see his effort scooped disappointingly over the bar with only Engin to beat. It had been a massive chance for the midfielder, but the hosts seemed to get no luck of the ball whatsoever. In fairness, they had raised their game after the break, even if some of their passing had let them down. This could partially be blamed on the bumpy pitch. Down the other end, Tanju eyed a ‘van Basten moment’ when he connected with his left foot to a diagonally flighted ball from Rıdvan. However, and to Tanju’s great disbelief, his effort on the far post could not be angled right, and eventually it did not trouble Müller.
Second Turkish substitution
Ten minutes from time, the big level of dominance from the hosts appeared to have appeased somewhat, and perhaps were they getting a little disillusioned by this point? The Turkish were seeing more of the ball, and they were able to hold on to it to a greater extent. They had lived a charmed life at times, rode their luck a bit, but altogether, they had defended with purpose against a very attacking outfit. Captain Cüneyt, who had been one of their most consistent performers so far in the qualification, had perhaps not been as visible on this occasion, but he had not been given much time on the ball, mainly concentrating on his defending. And along with Yusuf and libero Gökhan, the Turkish’ central defensive trio had coped admirably with what the East Germans had had to throw at them. In midfield, it was time to relieve Oğuz from his duties, as ‘the other Gökhan’, Gedikali of Ankaragücü, was thrust into action. This was the latest substitute’s second appearance of the on-going qualification, having previously started at centre-half during the defeat in Austria. He slotted into Oğuz’ midfield position for the remainder of this game, though.
The overload tactics did bring about a couple of late opportunities from the hosts: Rohde headed a right wing Doll corner via the ground and a yard left of Engin’s upright, and Minge connected first time on the volley eight yards out after Rohde’s header back. Engin was well positioned, and he caught Minge’s effort firmly. However, it had been a big opportunity once again, and the lack of finishing would ultimately cost the GDR team the game. The closer to the end the match progressed, the more frequently came the counter-attacking opportunities for the visitors, as the East Germans had also brought Trautmann up front as another outlet to aim for. Finally, the Turkish would accept with a bit more conviction the chance to have another go at the now relatively absent home defence, and when Ünal played a cross from the right for Tanju on the edges of the penalty area, the striker could take the ball square past Müller, who had come rushing off his line. Tanju spotted Rıdvan in a better position for a pop at goal, and with the net exposed, the livewire forward could sidefoot home from 16 yards for an unassailable 2-0 lead for the visitors. Again, players and fans went ballistic in their celebrations, and the Turkish were about to complete a proper ‘smash and grab’ victory. A 2-0 win in East Germany was a result which would reverberate around the continent.
Almost a third
In injury time, there’s even an opportunity for Turkey to add further gloss to the scoreline when substitute Gökhan Gedikali arrives inside the penalty area after a huge kick upfield by Engin had been flicked on by Tanju in a challenge with Trautmann. The man from the capital lets fly with his right foot, but he can not aim his effort on target, and Müller saw the ball end up in the side netting to Gökhan G’s disbelief. A 0-3 scoreline would’ve been very harsh on the hosts. Moments later, the referee signals the end of the game, and Turkey go top of the table with five points from four matches. For the East Germans, Italia ’90 now seems very, very far away.
The hosts had been unable to make a big attacking impression during a fairly low-paced first half, and though they had controlled the early exchanges, they seemed to lose their way once influental midfielder Hans-Uwe Pilz had to go off with injury. They became relatively predictable in their approach, and the visitors were comfortably happy sitting back and trying to hit the hosts on the counter. Shortly after the exit of Pilz, they went ahead through the Rıdvan/Tanju combination, and despite eventually amassing four bookings, they would ride their luck at times during a second half in which they sat further back and conceded possession to the hosts. East Germany did have their chances, none bigger than when Lindner saw his spot-kick saved after an hour, but despite adding numbers to their attack, they failed in imagination, and at the death the Turkish made sure of the win through one of their counters, as Tanju this time returned the favour for his colleague Rıdvan.
1 Müller 6.7
not at fault for goals, and hardly had a save to make
2 Hauptmann 6.6
struggled to keep up with the lively Rıdvan
3 Rohde 6.7
too often hit it long from the back, and was not the creative source from the back that GDR would’ve wanted
4 Trautmann 6.6
strong in the battle, but got outsmarted by Tanju for key moments
5 Lindner 6.9
saw his decent penalty saved, and could’ve scored with two further efforts. Perhaps more central in build-ups than he’d expected, though his final ball lacked precision too
6 Stübner 6.6
plenty of effort, but not enough quality in his passing. Not best suited as a wide midfielder
(14 Wuckel 6.7
endeavour after coming on, but also not succeeding when it mattered)
7 Sammer 6.9
accepted a lot of responsibility after Pilz’ early exit, but not always effective. Wasteful when he should’ve equalized
8 Pilz –
Underlines his importance early on through aggression and his involvement in set-pieces, but is soon forced off with a foot injury
(15 Doll 6.8
no lack of effort, but little end product in his crossing)
9 Kirsten 6.8
not a goal threat, but never gave up trying. Mainly seen towards the right hand channel
10 Minge 6.7
a threat from set-pieces with his aerial strength, but could ultimately not head on target with either effort. Not too influental in open play, and did not settle so well as a central midfielder after Pilz went off injured
11 Thom 6.4
another poor showing from the GDR talisman: unaccurate, and even appeared unbothered at times
1 Engin 8.5
faultless! Saved Lindner’s penalty, made three other impressive saves, and was alert to anything which came his way. Commanded the area well
2 Recep 7.1
hardly elegant, but quite efficient in his defensive duties through good positioning and strong tackle
3 Semih 7.0
often up against Kirsten or Doll, and would put in a tackle when necessary. Again not so contributive in going forward
4 Cüneyt 6.9
surely the communicative man in the Turkish rear line, but on this occasion less visible than his fellow central defenders
5 Gökhan K 7.3
another impressive display as libero, and again showed his strength in the air
6 Yusuf 7.2
came into the side and muted Thom. Physically strong
7 Uğur 6.7
covers a lot of ground, not as efficient in his attacking contribution this time around
(15 Erdal 6.6
untidy cameo. Too selfish on a couple of occasions when a pass had been the better option)
8 Rıdvan 7.4
like his front partner: a goal and an assist. Always a threat with his non-stop running. Moved from side to side
9 Oğuz 6.8
less influental as the Turkish midfield got suppressed, but had his moments in the first half, and played his part in Tanju’s goal
(14 Gökhan G –
added commitment in the final passages of play, and could’ve scored in injury time)
10 Tanju 7.3
not highly visible during the game, but he scored and he assisted; can’t be faulted for that
11 Ünal 7.4
committed display as the defensive midfielder, and a big hand in both goals. Key figure for this Turkey side