Pacey Turkey too much to cope with for more sluggish East Germans
¹ Invariably also given as 42,000
UEFA zone Group 3 is about to go into its winter hibernation, but before it can lay down to rest inside its den, there is the not so small matter of a final 1988 qualifier to deal with: Turkey are hosting East Germany in Istanbul. It may only be Matchday 6, but already the group is assuming its shape, and if Turkey are to have a say in qualification matters, then they ought to get something out of this fixture, preferably a win. The East Germans, having disposed of Iceland in East Berlin in their only qualifier yet, can afford to not look outright for the win. A draw would put them nicely atop the table alongside the Soviet Union for the winter break. It is both countries’ final international of the calendar year, with Turkey playing their fifth and East Germany their eighth. Both teams have had mixed fortunes so far.
This is what the table looks like prior to kick-off:
Turkey team news
After a draw and a defeat, both matches where Turkey had applied themselves well, this was pretty much a make or break game for Tınaz and his team. With East Germany tipped to give anyone a run for the money in the chase for second place behind overwhelming favourites Soviet Union, the Turkish would’ve realized that they could not afford defeat. Even a draw would favour the East Germans greatly, with the two countries’ clash behind the Iron Curtain yet to come.
Tınaz had kept faith in pretty much the same players for the two matches thus far, and he saw little reason to alter much ahead of this vital clash too. However, a few names had been replaced since last time, when Turkey had lost 3-2 in Austria, despite scoring twice to at least put a respectable outlook on the scoreline. Predominantly, the changes regarded players on the substitutes’ bench, though even one player who had so far not featured would even make it to the starting line-up: Galatasaray’s bearded midfield man Uğur Tütüneker would win his seventh cap, and his first of 1988. He had last featured during the 3-2 home defeat by Yugoslavia to conclude the previous qualification.
Goalkeeper yet again would be 28 year old Samsunspor custodian Fatih Uraz, something which meant that he would have started all of Turkey’s five internationals during the calendar year. Considering how much changing and chopping that had gone on at national team level in Turkey over the past decade, even such a ‘minor’ feat seemed remarkable. Back-up choice would be uncapped Boluspor ‘keeper Süleyman Kocakara.
32 year old Galatasaray stalwart Cüneyt Tanman had captained the side in both qualifiers so far, and he would again assume this role. He had been Tınaz’ designated libero. However, it became clear that he would have a third central defensive partner in as many matches, with no Gökhan Gedikali in the squad, and with Mücahit Yalçıntaş on the subs’ bench. 22 year old Gökhan Keskin, seemingly a Tınaz favourite, would take one step back from his defensive midfield role, and sign up as Cüneyt’s companion. Gökhan Keskin had indeed dropped back from that midfield anchor man role whilst Turkey had been 3-0 down in Vienna, when the manager had replaced central defender Gökhan Gedikali with wide midfielder Savaş Koç. It was a position the young Beşiktaş man was no stranger to. Full-backs would again be Recep and Semih.
With Uğur in the starting eleven in midfield, it remained to be seen how the manager would shape his probable trio. ‘Probable’ because there were also three names in the starting select who all were classified as forwards. In both of their previous two qualifiers, Turkey had played versions of 4-4-2. The skillful Ünal had been playing both wide left and in the centre, and he had excelled in both roles, proving to be one of Turkey’s biggest sources of quality thus far. Another midfielder, Oğuz, had also been consistent, even though he was only on three caps prior to kick-off in Istanbul. The common thread among the Turkish team was still their comparatively low number of internationals player by player.
Tanju Çolak, now 25, had so far been a disappointment, but he would still get the nod as one of the three forwards. He would have alongside him both Feyyaz Uçar and the lively Rıdvan Dilmen, along with Ünal their superior player hitherto in the qualification. This meant that all three leading Istanbul clubs, Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe were represented with a striker each.
Among the five subs were two players who had had game time until now in central defender Mücahit Yalçıntaş and wide midfielder Savaş Koç. Said second choice goalkeeper Süleyman along with midfielders Metin Yıldız and Hasan Vezir, six and eleven caps respectively, completed the quintet.
East Germany team news
After two points and no goals conceded from their opening qualifier, one could’ve been led to believe that everything was rosy in the GDR camp. However, this did not quite appear true, as there were rumours of some behind the scene problems, with players perhaps not taking to manager Bernd Stange’s dispositions like he would’ve wanted. They were an experienced national team, with a lot of players on a high number of international appearances, and with some strong characters among them.
Since the 2-0 win against Iceland six weeks earlier, they had been robbed of the services from one of their midfield players: the hugely talented Matthias Sammer. He had come on as a substitute against Iceland when Stübner had been injured during the first half, but on this occasion he was not found among the 16 in Stange’s matchday squad. However, back into the mix came another midfielder: league leaders Dynamo Dresden’s experienced Hans-Uwe Pilz, a 30 year old with 33 previous caps to his name. He would slot straight into the team at the expense of Jürgen Raab, who was relegated to the substitutes’ bench. The rest of the midfield four would be made up by the tall Rainer Ernst, box to box man Jörg Stübner, as well as exciting young prospect Rico Steinmann, aged 20, winning his 11th cap.
Between the sticks, Stange kept faith with 32 year old Jörg Weißflog of mid-table side Wismut Aue. In the continued absence of former national team captain René Müller, Weißflog would make his 13th appearance in the national team jumper. Behind him, the huge Bodo Rudwaleit of reigning league champions Dynamo Berlin had to be content with a place among the substitutes.
Stange would make one change to his defensive line, where the experienced Ronald Kreer returned in place of Detlef Schößler, who had played the game against the Icelandics at right-back. There was still no place for Frank Rohde, the Dynamo Berlin libero who was playing consistantly well in the league. The libero job went, again, to the bearded figure of Dirk Stahmann, winning his 41st cap tonight. Alongside him would be the considerably less experienced Matthias Lindner, whose presence in Istanbul meant he would play for the national side for the eighth time. Matthias Döschner, one of four starting Dynamo Dresden players, would keep his place in the side at left-back.
Despite only being 23, both forwards had already gained a considerable amount of international experience. Captain Andreas Thom was making his 40th appearance, whilst his partner Ulf Kirsten would be representing his country for a 33rd time. As a possible back-up for either was Thomas Doll, a year younger than the pair, and a player first and foremost capable of featuring along the wing.
Istanbul is sunny on this final November day in 1988. The pitch appears well groomed, though it does also appear to have its bumpy spots. There is a bit of wind, and this seems to be coming into the faces of the home team’s players for the opening half.
Lajos Németh is 44 years of age and comes from Hungary. He had started out as a footballer at a high level, with Békéscaba and Honvéd, until going into refereeing at the tail end of the 70s. He would get his first international in 1984, incidentally in Aue, East Germany, where the hosts defeated Algeria 5-2 in an October friendly. Six of the thirteen GDR players in action here in Istanbul had also played their part in that fixture: Weißflog, Kreer, Stahmann, Döschner, Pilz and Thom.
Neither of his previous seven internationals had involved Turkey. He had made his qualification bow in ’85 with the Republic of Ireland’s 0-0 home draw against Norway ahead of the 1986 World Cup, and then been selected for the tournament proper where his task had been refereeing the group stage match between Denmark and Scotland (1-0). His last qualification task had been a 0-0 draw between Portugal and Switzerland for the 1988 European Championships.
Unfortunately, Mr Németh passed away on January 26 2014.
The two countries had been in the same qualifying group ahead of Argentina ’78, when the East Germans had won 2-1 in Izmir after drawing 1-1 in their first encounter in Dresden. Whereas no player had remained in either team since then and through to today, there were still a good few who had met before, as the third meeting in history between the pair had happened only 20 months earlier. Turkey had won 3-1 in Ali Sami Yen Stadyumu, the home of Galatasaray, on March 25 1987. Five among the 13 Turkish players who would participate in today’s World Cup qualifying clash had participated back then: Fatih, Semih, Tanju, Rıdvan and substitute Hasan, whilst eight of the 13 featuring GDR players had been in action: Kreer, Stahmann, Döschner, Ernst, Stübner, Pilz, Thom and substitute Schößler. So there was a scarce total but very recent history between them before this their fourth ever encounter.
|1 Fatih Uraz||28||Samsunspor|
|2 Recep Çetin||23||Beşiktaş|
|3 Semih Yuvakuran||25||Galatasaray|
|4 Cüneyt Tanman (c)||32||Galatasaray|
|5 Gökhan Keskin||22||Beşiktaş|
|6 Ünal Karaman||22||Malatyaspor|
|7 Uğur Tütüneker||25||Galatasaray|
|8 Rıdvan Dilmen||26||Fenerbahçe|
|9 Oğuz Çetin||sub 89′||25||Fenerbahçe|
|10 Tanju Çolak||sub 81′||25||Galatasaray|
|11 Feyyaz Uçar||25||Beşiktaş|
|12 Süleyman Kocakara||30||Boluspor|
|13 Savaş Koç||25||Galatasaray|
|14 Mücahit Yalçıntaş||27||Konyaspor|
|15 Metin Yıldız||on 81′||28||Galatasaray|
|16 Hasan Vezir||on 89′, 90′||26||Fenerbahçe|
East Germany (4-4-2)
|1 Jörg Weißflog||32||Wismut Aue|
|2 Ronald Kreer||sub 67′||29||Lokomotive Leipzig|
|3 Dirk Stahmann||80′||30||Magdeburg|
|4 Matthias Lindner||23||Lokomotive Leipzig|
|5 Matthias Döschner||71′||30||Dynamo Dresden|
|6 Hans-Uwe Pilz||30||Dynamo Dresden|
|7 Jörg Stübner||35′||23||Dynamo Dresden|
|8 Rico Steinmann||20||Karl-Marx-Stadt|
|9 Ulf Kirsten||23||Dynamo Dresden|
|10 Rainer Ernst||39′, sub h-t||26||Dynamo Berlin|
|11 Andreas Thom (c)||23||Dynamo Berlin|
|12 Frank Rohde||28||Dynamo Berlin|
|13 Jürgen Raab||29||Carl Zeiss Jena|
|14 Detlef Schößler||on 67′||26||Magdeburg|
|15 Thomas Doll||on h-t||22||Dynamo Berlin|
|16 Bodo Rudwaleit||31||Dynamo Berlin|
The lovely situated İnönü Stadyumu appears to be packed to the rafters. The national team might only have gathered a single point from their opening two matches, but signs had nevertheless been promising, and they had got scant reward for some enterprising play during these two fixtures. Now, faced with an East Germany which they had overcome just over a year and a half earlier, there was again anticipation amongst the crowd, although there also seemed to be an air of apprehension. Noise levels were not quite through the roof yet, as if they were conveying the message of ‘show us what you’ve got, and then we will truly get behind you’.
There would have been cautious optimism in the visiting camp after their 2-0 home win against Iceland in their sole qualifier yet, although there had been some negativity circulating in domestic media regarding the quality of team. And, furthermore: Was Bernd Stange really the man to see this, looking from the outside-in, decent generation of East German footballers through to Italia ’90? They had had some mixed fortunes earlier in the calendar year, and a lot seemed to hinge on this fixture, even if it was still early days in the qualification group.
It is the visitors who get the match under way through captain and forward Andreas Thom and midfielder Hans-Uwe Pilz, returning to the side having missed the win against Iceland, when Jürgen Raab had filled in.
Before the game really settles, there appears to be a bit of a stretch between components in both teams. This leads to a surprisingly open first few minutes, where Fatih comes to the hosts’ rescue when his outstretched right foot parries a strong effort from the right inside the penalty area after a quickly executed East German counter. It is the visitors’ lanky attacking midfielder Rainer Ernst who arrives at the opportunity, having been played in by his team leader Andreas Thom, who had surged through midfield ball at feet. Turkey left-back Semih had been somewhat out of position, and this meant that Ernst, starting the game as the right-sided midfielder, had no one directly ahead of him until reaching inside the box. He would ultimately be closed down by Cüneyt, but before the Turkey captain could reach him, Ernst had driven a low diagonal shot which Fatih had parried. It had been a whisker away from an early GDR goal.
It was not as if the home side wanted to be any inferior, even if the stretch in their side meant they were counter-attacked against on a couple of occasions early on. A lot had been made about goal ace Tanju Çolak’s poor performance in the home opener against Iceland. He had seemed almost out of sorts, putting in little effort and generally looked uninterested. His cameo in Vienna had been an improvement, even if he had not been totally convincing. He had got on the end of Rıdvan’s pass to score Turkey’s second goal during the 3-2 defeat. Here, though, Tanju appeared to be playing with much more of a fire in his belly. He would be the first home player to test visiting ‘keeper Jörg Weißflog, the 32 year old from Wismut Aue, when he hit a low shot from 23 yards out five and a half minutes into the contest. Weißflog had gone down to smother the ball. The tone had been set; both sides had shown willingness to move forward.
Hosts’ attacking outlook
The Turkish had been in 4-4-2 for both their matches yet, although they had shown some tactical manoeuvres during the course of both games. For example, the manager had taken off full-back Recep and replaced him with striker Feyyaz during the opening match against the Icelandics, whereas, in search of goals to get back into the game, he had withdrawn a centre-back (Gökhan Gedikali) and replaced him with a wide midfielder (Savaş Koç) in Austria. This had shown that Tınaz had been more than willing to throw caution to the wind, and here against East Germany, the Turkish again showed their attacking intentions: They begun the match in a 4-3-3 formation, including all three of their expert forwards in Tanju, Feyyaz and the lively Rıdvan.
It is difficult to say whether the East Germans had been suitably prepared to face such an attacking Turkish outfit. Their pre-match studies of the opponents would have showed Turkey’s 4-4-2, but surely, given the tactical altercations which had happened during the course of both Turkey’s previous matches, Bernd Stange and his staff should have acknowledged any possibility. The GDR team themselves came in the same 4-4-2 formation which had served them well in the qualification opener against Iceland, although preciously few defensive tweaks within the formation seemed to have been made in preparation for this attacking variant from their opponent. It did leave room to believe that Turkey, in starting off in such an attacking fashion, had taken the visitors somewhat by surprise.
Closer look at the Turkish tactics
In their previous two qualifiers, Turkey had left not so much a symmetrical impression about their starting elevens. In their opener, the 1-1 home draw against Iceland, they had operated with Semih as an attacking left-back, and with left-sided midfielder Ünal in an inverted role. Rıdvan had still been predominantly a right-sided forward, even with the presence of Savaş Koç along the right hand side of midfield behind him, and with Recep as a more forward-restricted right-back. Away to Austria, they had started without a designated wide player to the left in midfield, with Ünal having a more central role then. Semih had had a lot of attacking responsibility in both of those games, something which did seem to make them vulnerable to counters against down his side.
Tınaz had decided to start in a 4-3-3 on this occasion, and again there was this asymmetrical look about the hosts. There was no player in a right-sided midfield role, which perhaps was no oddity in a three man midfield constellation, but Ünal was clearly operating more or less as he had been against Iceland in the opening match, as the left-sided option. Again, he was inverted, meaning that he would seek into central space time and again. The fine Oğuz sat in the centre, with Uğur slightly to his right. However, their positioning would invariably change throughout the course of the game. One of the strengths of this exciting Turkish select was their ability to interchange between themselves. The absence of a central defensive midfielder was perhaps the biggest upset, as this is the role which Gökhan Keskin had originally held for both of their previous qualifiers. However, he had abandoned this role to step back into central defence at 3-0 down in Austria when the manager had substituted original central defender Gökhan Gedikali for winger Savaş Koç. Gökhan Keskin, on this occasion, would be Turkey’s libero.
With the only Gökhan among the Turkish 16 in the libero position, this freed up captain Cüneyt, who had held this responsibility for their two earlier qualifiers, as a more regular kind of central defender. Gökhan’s interpretation of the role turned out to be of a different nature than that of Cüneyt, as today’s libero would mainly focus on sweeping: Gökhan would take little or no responsibility inside the opposition’s half. This was left to Cüneyt to do among the two. The captain would again, like against Iceland, stride forward on the ball, providing an option for team mates positioned higher up in the pitch. Right-back Recep would probably have more forays into the opposition’s half on this occasion than the previously attacking Semih, and though Recep did seem something of a less confident player going forward than his compatriot along the opposite full-back, he was sound enough.
Rıdvan would again pull out into right hand side positions, both along the touchline and also into the channel. He was always on the chase, and would never give the opposition’s defenders a moment’s peace, and he was unpredictable and determined when in possession. His low centre of gravity made him one of those players quite exciting to watch, and he would again make sure to cause a lot of stir among the opposition. Tanju would be the one operating in the centre-forward role of the three up front, although on this occasion the Galatasaray goal ace would be participating quite deep with a surprisingly high frequency: He would even offer to challenge opponents well inside his own half, and so Tanju provided much more than a luxury player stuck up top. His aggression levels were of vast improvement compared to in those two earlier fixtures. The third forward, Feyyaz, had his original position to the left of the three, but he would be prone to moving about, adding to the often fluctuating impression left by the hosts. This all made them no easy an opponent.
Early East German confidence
The East Germans do not look any inferior to their hosts in the opening 15 minutes, a sequence which continues to be a surprisingly open one. It is hardly as if the visitors sit back and have a wish to defend their way to a point. They show some enterprise, and they appear to be willing in attempting counter-attacks. There are a few East German players well equipped for pace, and they have players who can spot a run and execute a pass. The Turkish defence needs to be alert early on, and sure, had Ernst netted with his early effort, then the game would have been Turkey’s to chase.
The team in blue and white continue to look for options ahead of the player in possession. When appearing on the ball in midfield, no East German player wants to dally or to make an extra circle to lose time. They look ahead, as if their plan is to exploit any lingering among the more defensive Turkey players who have been slow in transition from attack to defence. Midfielder Pilz, the one who had been absent in their opening qualifier, seemed brimful of energy, making all sorts of runs in order to close opponents down, and something similar could be said about his central midfield partner Jörg Stübner, though perhaps to a slightly less extent. They appeared to be with their tails up during the first quarter of an hour, did the East Germans.
A closer look at the GDR team
The visitors’ 4-4-2 at first seemed quite straight forward, with the colossal Dirk Stahmann operating in the deep central defensive position, behind Matthias Lindner, one of two Lokomotive Leipzig players among the back four. Stahmann was a beast in battle, and no Turk appeared to stand a chance against him in the air, which is why it did seem a good idea for East Germany to let him come forward for attacking set-pieces. He does come close to having a moment in front of goal following a Steinmann left wing corner which comes his way, but he can’t really wrestle Cüneyt out of the way, and even if he still wins the aerial challenge, he can not get any conviction behind his header, which Fatih eventually gets to before Stahmann can challenge. Lindner, on the other hand, appears in open play inside the Turkey defensive third, making a fine run on the ball out towards the left, where his attempted cross will eventually win him a corner off Cüneyt.
Among the two East German full-backs, the left-sided defender, Matthias Döschner, seems to be the more confident coming forward. He will engage inside the Turkish half of the pitch now and again, and he offers quite a bit of pace once he’s decided to ignite his turbo. This comes in handy defensively, too, as he is up against one of the quicker Turkish players in Rıdvan. He is also capable of delievering a fine cross from his side, as he can aim the ball with his left boot very well. Ronald Kreer, the highest capped player in the visiting side with 56, does also offer his services inside the home team’s half, but to a smaller extent than Döschner, and it is with less confidence that Kreer makes his forward ventures. He appears to be more at ease with remaining inside his own half.
The East German midfield is certainly worth a study. They have lined up as a conventional four man unit, with the tall, blonde Rainer Ernst out on the right hand side, with the more stocky Stübner to his left, as the more right-sided of the two central midfielders. Then there was Pilz, and out towards the left hand side was 20 year young Karl-Marx-Stadt talent Rico Steinmann. However, these positions were mere guiding lines, as they too would offer a whole lot of interswitching in positions. Ernst, very much an attack-minded player, was always an easy spot with his hair, and he was someone so often confident in possession. He does also have a couple of moments where he has come across more towards the left of centre and spotted the run of either Thom or Kirsten diagonally. Due to time on the ball and space in which to hit it into, he will offer proof of his passing range. In particular his long, raking ball towards Kirsten just before the 15 minute mark is a joy to behold. The striker attempts to make it past Semih and through from the right hand side of the penalty area, but the full-back makes a fine recovery to prod the ball back home to Fatih to avert the danger.
Ernst is far from the only East German midfielder with a wish to rotate positions, as this applies for more or less the four of them. It will take Steinmann some time before he leaves his post along the left hand flank, but after a while he too will become confident in venturing both inside and even across to the opposite flank. Steinmann is predominantly right-footed, but can even swing a left-footed ball into the area when attacking from the right. He does not strike you as someone with excessive pace, and he does not once make it past his full-back opponent Recep. Instead, he enjoys to take an extra touch or two, which some times means he slows down progress too much. Perhaps does he still have a bit to learn tactic wise about when to release the ball.
Stübner and Pilz in the centre are necessary cogs to make the East German machinery tick. They both offer a whole lot of running and closing down of opponents, and though neither demonstrates huge playmaking skills in the early parts of the tie, they are not uncapable of shifting the ball around. In particular Pilz is busy, being a presence both up and down the pitch.
Andreas Thom, aged 23, is arguably the biggest star in this Bernd Stange select. The Dynamo Berlin forward is someone who prefers to come deep and be instrumental in build-ups of attacks, a player who thrives in possession. In earnest, he has it all. He can dominate play with his creativity, he is strong on the ball, and has an excellent shot on him. He also appears to have a fine understanding with Dynamo Dresden striker Ulf Kirsten, so often his forward partner in the national side. Thom might only be 23, but he is already captain at international level, and he is making his 40th appearance in the famous blue jersey. This helped underline his status as an international star, and a talisman in the East German side. Involve him, build his confidence, and you would have a decent chance of him being able to dominate the opposition’s defence. For the opponents it was all about trying to unsettle him and get him out of his stride. Like any star playmaker, Thom could be prone to mood swings.
Turkey grow into the contest
After the 15 minute mark, it is as if someone’s flicked a switch, because all of a sudden the hosts start to get their feet going. They show determination well above that of their opponents, and it does seem like they have just collectively shaken off their early match nerves. They are resolute at the back, where the young Gökhan wins a couple of challenges in the centre of the pitch with Thom. The confidence seems to breathe through their team, and they start applying pressure on their hosts, who retract further back inside their own half. Uğur has a shot from 25 yards with 17,30 on the clock, but it is hit with too much slice, and it goes well to the right of Weißflog’s goal. They do not yet have a lot to show for their gradually stronger dominance, the Turkish. In fact, they were somewhat fortunate not to go behind when Cüneyt gets a clearance from a Döschner left wing cross all wrong: With Fatih stranded, he only clears his own crossbar by half a yard! The opening period was approaching its halfway stage.
Turkey move in front on 24 minutes. They mount an attack starting with goalkeeper Fatih releasing the ball for right-back Recep, who in turn feeds Oğuz just ahead of him, deep inside their own half. The Fenerbahçe midfielder proceeds to finds Tanju, who again has come into the centre circle to have a touch, and promptly Tanju feeds Uğur, who is faced forward and already has spotted the run of Rıdvan out towards the right. The forward’s tracked by Döschner, so he plays it to Feyyaz, who is a few yards behind him, and who in turn aims to hit a left foot pass towards the far end of the penalty area, where Tanju has wisely snuck in on the blind side of full-back Kreer. Feyyaz’ pass is a pinpoint one, as it eludes Kreer by the slimmest of margins. The visiting full-back had even contemplated getting a touch with an outstretched hand before his sense managed to persuade his instincts to lower the arm. This saw Tanju, taking an excellent first touch to control the pass, with free sight on goal, and taking aim with his right foot to bend it low into the far corner beyond Weißflog’s reach, he could put the hosts 1-0 up. Cue delirium among the home fans after a delightfully crafted team goal.
After the goal, it was all about how the visitors would respond. Sure, there was still plenty of time for them to get it right, so it was not as if they needed to get desperate in an instant. However, after that change in game procedure since around the quarter of an hour mark, it seemed difficult for the East Germans to get going again. Yes, Ernst did try to apply some creativity from midfield, where he would still work just as much from central positions as from his original right hand side, but now the Turkish midfielders were well alert to any danger that his vision might possess. In bringing the bearded, almost pitbull-like Uğur back into the side as something of a midfield enforcer, Turkey manager Tınaz appeared to have made a wise decision. The 25 year old Galatasaray man would move his feet quickly, and he would give the GDR midfielders little time on the ball. Uğur’s fellow midfielders Oğuz and Ünal were perhaps not quite in his mould in checking the opposition’s players, but as a trio, they kept their shape well, and it became increasingly difficult for the visitors to cause any harm inside the hosts’ final third of the pitch. There is an effort from Thom wide to the right inside the box with the outside of his foot, but it clears the bar by some margin. The bigger opportunity comes down the other end on 28 minutes, when Feyyaz wriggles free from both Lindner and Kreer, before he has a low diagonal pop from inside the area before Stahmann can close him down. The ball travels almost in the same direction as when Tanju scored, but it trickled just wide of the upright. It had been very close to a Turkish second goal.
East Germany warnings
With the East German frustration growing, there are two bookings in relatively quick succession among the visitors. Firstly, Stübner impedes Uğur with the ball travelling forward in the midfielder’s direction. With the camera focused elsewhere, it is difficult to know exactly what it is that Mr Németh has spotted, but the Hungarian official nevertheless felt it had warranted a yellow card. A few minutes later, it is Ernst who makes a poorly timed attacking midfielder’s tackle, which resembles more a lunge, on Recep out by the touchline. The full-back had first made it past Pilz’ attempted tackle, and so he was slightly off balance as Ernst came flying in. There was little point in discussing this decision to book the East Germany number 10. Were these signs of frustration a hint of a lack in discipline amongst the visitors, a level of discipline so often associated with Eastern European teams?
Hosts dominate midfield
Ernst’s tackle happened after a spell of almost total possession by the hosts. Turkey had players with such fine close control within their team, and midfielders Oğuz and Ünal have both delievered well again, having been among their most significant players in both matches prior to this one. However, in his inverted left-sided role on this occasion, Ünal is not quite as visible as he had been previously, but it does not mean he was unable to show the crowd exactly what he could do with the ball around his ankles. Sometimes, it seemed like the ball was glued to his feet, and though he was far from a blisteringly quick player, he belied his age with some of his cleverness, usually picking the right pass. In Oğuz, the most central of the Turkey midfield trio, the hosts had almost a similarly capable player on the ball, although his close control was a tad less raffined than that of Ünal. They both seemed to benefit from having the tigerish Uğur alongside them.
Peripheral GDR front two
The two East Germany forwards became increasingly isolated figures up front, and neither were able to make much of an impact on the fairly solid looking Turkish defence. Particularly Gökhan had a sound game at the heart of the hosts’ backline, though he appeared to have more or less the perfect partner in the ten years older Cüneyt, who again was showing his organisatory skills at the back, even if he was not the deeper of the two centre-backs on this occasion. Ulf Kirsten, the Dynamo Dresden striker making his 33rd international appearance, had seen an earlier effort from the right hand side inside the area rebuffed by Fatih, but even if he was attempting to provide an outlet through making runs into both channels, his effort mostly seemed futile, as passes would rarely reach him. Captain Thom was also without much influence, more often than not seen strolling about the pitch rather than trying to lift his team mates’ spirits. This was not what you wanted to see from your leader.
Cue half time
Right on the stroke of half time, Cüneyt makes his most advanced foray into GDR sector yet. He reaches until about 20 yards from goal before he is being closed down by the rugged Stahmann, and so the Turkey skipper slips the ball sideways for Tanju. However, Kreer, who has come into the centre of defence on this occasion, attempts a sliding tackle, only to concede a free-kick some 23-24 yards out after touching the ball with his hand. The hosts have one final first half effort to strike on target, but ultimately, Tanju’s direct kick takes a touch off the defensive wall and spins behind for a corner. The visitors head clear Ünal’s flag kick, and 49 seconds into time added on, the referee brings first half proceedings to a half with the hosts 1-0 to the good.
The away eleven is the first back on the pitch after the interval, though the hosts follow shortly after. There has been one change made, and it has occured in the visiting team, with Rainer Ernst leaving the field for Thomas Doll to come on. Ernst had been a bit of both during the first half, but perhaps were his defensive weaknesses what had prompted Mr Stange to take him off. The 22 year old Doll, a team mate of Ernst’s at Dynamo Berlin, would win his 14th cap, and he was more of a traditional wide midfielder than the man whom he replaced.
Turkey see to kick-off through forwards Feyyaz and Rıdvan.
If Ünal had been a less prominent feature in the Turkish side during this first half than he had been in their previous two matches, the crowd would be seeing more of him at the start of the second half. From his inverted left-sided midfield role he would soon assume playmaking duties, and thus more or less relieving Oğuz of this responsibility. At least momentarily. That they had two such players in the side was, of course, a win-win situation for the hosts. Now Ünal clearly was up for it at the start of the half, with a lot of involvement. The left hand side, where Ünal had Semih behind him and Feyyaz ahead of him, would be the source of some fine combinations, and just short of the 50 minute mark their work almost yielded a goal, when Rıdvan, coming across to the left, combined with forward partner Feyyaz for the latter to have a pop at goal from inside the area. His shot, an attempt to curl the ball towards the inside of the right hand post, is a poor one, and Weißflog is able to save with a relative level of comfortability. The intricate short passing play, however, had brought Turkey in the scoring position, and it is this which the East Germans were finding it difficult to defend against. Ronald Kreer, the most capped visiting player, did not have a particularly fruitful afternoon in the right-back position.
Thomas Doll’s influence early in the second half was not a large one. This was owed mostly to the fact that the home side continued to exert pressure, and so there was not a whole lot of opportunities for a wide midfielder in the East German camp to shine. Doll had taken to the wide right role, the one which his predecessor Ernst had originally held, although the latter had varied his positioning during the first half. Now, the away lot had a more typical wide man in their side. Could this be something that they could take advantage of? Rico Steinmann opposite had so far also not been able to assert much dominance on his full-back (Recep), so the visitors would need all kinds of positive input that they were capable of getting. Steinmann had probably had a lucky escape for a yellow card when he had retaliated against Recep in a defensive position. Down the other end, the East Germans did at last have some respite when Cüneyt had been adjudged to have given Thom a kick in the side of the ribs just outside of the penalty area to the right as the visitors were looking at it. Pilz would swing the ball into the centre, and Doll, not the tallest player, but still, had got himself inbetween Tanju and Gökhan, and had to see his header drift about a yard to the left of the goal frame. It had been the closest that the visitors had come.
Home players’ greater flexibility
The way the hosts were set up to play with a front three, ensured that GDR had to be constantly alert to danger. Turkey would break with pace when the occasion arose, and instrumental in doing so was Oğuz, whose ability to stride through midfield ball at feet was a vital feature in Turkey counters. Once Fatih had gathered the ball inside his box, he could be sure that at least one of his midfielders had made himself available, and with East Germany sometimes slow in the recovery phase, this was clearly something that the hosts wished to exploit. Oğuz, Rıdvan and Feyyaz were the three quicker ones moving forward when the hosts were on the break, and the former would often try to play his Fenerbahçe team mate Rıdvan along the right hand side. Even Uğur had been played down the right hand channel early in the half, though his cross had been mishit straight into the arms of Weißflog. With Rıdvan there would usually be a greater threat, though to Döschner’s credit, the East Germany left-back often did remarkably well to recover in time. Tanju, from his slightly deeper, central role, would be joining in the second waves of attack, and there was a whole lot of movement among the home players which the often more stationary visitors struggled to keep pace with. Thom continued to be a shadow of himself up front, and Kirsten too had not been much successful. Pilz was giving his all in midfield, but with Stübner gradually fading, it was clear that even the Dynamo Dresden ace could not keep this side together on his own. Steinmann got into a couple of crossing positions, but neither ball reached an intended target, with either Cüneyt or Gökhan on hand to scoop the ball away. With the hour mark approaching, the Turkish were in the ascendancy.
Feyyaz close again
On 61 minutes, Turkey come perilously close to increasing their lead, and the visitors had goalkeeper Jörg Weißflog to thank for them still being in the match. East Germany had cleared a corner almost out to the halfway line, where Ünal had recouped the ball, and spotting Oğuz free along the right hand side, the Malatyaspor star played a perfectly flighted ball out wide. With time and space to pick his cross, Oğuz proceeded to find the head of Feyyaz, who had almost got himself into a similar position as the one which he had scored from in Austria four weeks earlier. This time, though, the cross had come from a few yards deeper, but nevertheless did the Beşiktaş forward draw a terrific one-handed stop from Weißflog, who had managed to tip the header over the bar and out for a left wing corner. Feyyaz had come close once again, and in addition to the assist which he had provided for Tanju’s first half goal, it was fair to say that the Turkey #11 was giving a fine account of himself.
Tanju strikes for a second time
Less than three minutes later, Recep would leave a half-hearted Stübner for dead inside his own half and advance towards the halfway line. He then played the ball forward to Rıdvan, who had cut in from the right hand side and was making a run through the centre. He had Döschner following him inside, and Lindner was also recovering, but Rıdvan, with his excellent close control, managed to wriggle free from both just outside of the area. However, he was then brought down by Döschner, and the referee had no option but to award the hosts a free-kick in a fine position. Cue Tanju from 20 yards, and his low strike, just to the right of the defensive wall, found its way into the back of the net behind a possibly unsighted Weißflog, who reacted late and never got to the ball. It was a great strike by the danger man, who had proved himself to be deadly efficient so far tonight: two opportunities, two goals. From three matches, the domestic league ace marksman had now scored three times. There appeared to be no way back for a demoralized East German team, desperately in need of some fresh impetus. Time to look among the substitutes for ideas, Bernd Stange?
What now, GDR?
Collectively, the GDR team poses little attacking threat. There is not enough movement inside the Turkey half for them to expose any frailties which may exist in the Turkish rear lines, and though they do get into crossing positions through both Steinmann from the left and Thom from the right in the wake of Tanju’s 2-0 goal, there is also a big lack of precision, with the hosts’ defenders easily on hand to guide the ball away from any danger. There will also be times when libero Stahmann, much due to his grand physique (he is almost 6’5/1,93m tall), is thrust into more or less a forward position in what almost seems a desperate ploy from the sidelines. However, having created so little in terms of danger in front of Fatih, East Germany for sure do need to try alternative methods. When their final substitution comes along not long after Tanju’s second goal, it is, however, a like for like defensive swap, with Kreer leaving the field for Detlef Schößler in the right-back position. Granted, Kreer had not had his best ever performance in the GDR shirt, and perhaps were the other options among the substitutes not that appealing to Stange in the position which they were finding themselves anyway. The two other outfield players were central defender Frank Rohde and midfielder Jürgen Raab. Perhaps had it made more sense to neutral onlookers had the latter come on in Kreer’s place and with a change in formation to either 3-5-2 or 3-4-3.
Semih almost through
At the halfway point in the second half, Stahmann is involved in an interesting situation as the last man of defence. Uğur has done well in an inside left position to spot the forward run of left-back Semih, and the midfielder proceeds to lift the ball in his direction. It is a move which takes the visitors by surprise, and Stahmann has to intervene in order to prevent Semih a clear run at goal. However, the away libero appears to bring Semih down as the defender is about to break into the penalty area, although there is no retribution from the referee. Play will continue, even if there is a big hint of irregularity in Stahmann’s approach: Why would Semih go down when all he needed was to remain on his feet in order to have a one on one with the goalkeeper? To his credit, Semih refrains from making a big fuss of the situation, something which perhaps could even serve in the direction of acquitting Stahmann for any misconduct.
Turkey add a third
The hosts waste little time in clinching dual points, however. They score for a third time when Oğuz can prod home with his left foot in front of an exposed goal after yet another attack which has torn the East German defence to pieces. Ünal had run at Schößler until releasing the ball sideways for Oğuz some 30 yards away from goal. The central midfielder then decided to take on Stübner, though there is no tackle from the East German midfielder, something which allows Oğuz to play a one-two with Ünal to the left inside the visitors’ area, and having been returned the ball, Oğuz is only faced with ‘keeper Weißflog, with Stahmann desperately trying to come into the act from a central position inside the penalty box. Oğuz prods at goal with his right foot, Weißflog dives low down to his left and pushes the ball away, though only as far as into Tanju’s direction, and with the ball for a moment free in the centre of the area, it is a poor intervention by left-back Döschner which will eventually guide it past Weißflog and back into the reach of Oğuz, who, with an outstretched left foot, can push it into the empty net. Tanju had been sensing an opportunity to complete his hat-trick, though he had tripped on the ball just prior to it reaching Oğuz. And so it was that the Fenerbahçe playmaker scored his first ever goal in the national team shirt. This was getting ugly for East Germany.
Döschner the third visitor in the book
A minute after the goal, there’s another booking for the disjointed East Germans when Döschner has evidently committed a foul on Uğur. Turkish TV had been showing a replay of 3-0 when the incident occured 30 yards away from the visitors’ goal, so it is unclear exactly what had happened, though Uğur needs to be led away from the situation by his team mates, so he had clearly been upset. With 20 minutes still left for play, GDR need to pull themselves together so that they don’t make matters even worse. There is always a chance of goal difference coming into the reckoning at the final table.
Thom hits one back
For the first time in a while, the East Germans are able to maintain possession inside the Turkish half, and this ultimately sees them rewarded with a goal to at least reduce the deficit back to two goals. The hosts had been dealt a scare when central defender Lindner had attempted a left-foot shot from 25 yards which had just gone wide right of the post, and then moments later the ball was in the back of the net through the hitherto anonymous Thom, as the home defence opened up in front of him after Döschner had headed the ball into the path of Kirsten. The striker had then fed his captain sideways just outside the area, and with Gökhan committed in his attendance of Kirsten, only Semih could have stepped in to halt Thom’s run into the area. The left-back freezes, though, and lets the GDR skipper finish easily beyond Fatih for 3-1. It is a goal which the visitors have scarcely deserved, even if they had been able to push their team higher in the pitch, at least for the time being. With a quarter of an hour still left on the clock, were there further goals in this contest?
Tame East German efforts
There is little imminent indication of a surprise comeback from the visitors, although they continue to toil, with Turkey allowing them to have more possession than earlier in the half. Steinmann has come across to the right and cut inside to make an angle for himself to deliever a left foot shot, but his effort is blocked by Recep, who has followed him across. Then there’s a Stahmann header from a Pilz left wing corner as he almost uses his central defensive colleague Lindner as a spring board to reach high enough, but there is no punch in his effort, and Fatih can gather it low.
Turkey strike the bar
Tınaz has seen that there are some legs in his camp which are beginning to tire, and he is preparing for his first substitution. Tanju had made a huge contribution, and this performance was such a big step up since, especially, the Iceland game, where he had been almost carefree and indifferent. In his somewhat withdrawn centre-forward role, he had been a revelation, full of endeavour, and his two goals had been just reward for a strong performance. It was time to let the Galatasaray front man rest, and the manager thrust left-sided midfielder Metin Yıldız, a team mate of Tanju’s at club level, into the action. Just prior to that, Stahmann had brought to an end another enterprising run from Rıdvan, something which had seen the big defender rewarded with a yellow card. From the subsequent free-kick 22 yards out, just as Metin had entered the field, Ünal hits the crossbar, almost by the angle with the upright. The substitution brought a formation change for the Turkish, who would see the game out in a 4-4-2, with Ünal coming into the centre alongside Oğuz.
Visitors’ frustration showing
Before the full time whistle, there’s further evidence of East German frustration, and this time it is Andreas Thom who hacks Feyyaz down from behind midway inside the Turkish half, an infringement which also serves to dent another counter-attack from the hosts. Thom had clearly deserved to have his name taken, but the referee, who had been well positioned, did nothing more than award a free-kick. Perhaps did Mr Németh feel sympathetic towards the visitors at this point? Shortly after, although more the result of Pilz not wishing to let Feyyaz have a clear run at goal from Metin’s through pass rather than a direct outcome of frustration, yet another among the visitors could so easily have been booked. Pilz probably escaped retribution due to the fact that he too went down in the challenge, seemingly taking a knock. In Pilz’ case frustration would have seemed understandable, as he had gone through an awful lot of running. He had, however, been sadly alone.
Turkey look to be going through the motions towards the end, visibly feeling that they’ve already done more than enough to warrant the win. And they had. They had been the superior team, yet they needed to be aware so that they did not concede again. Sitting back did not suit them; they were far better when going forward. Four minutes from time, Cüneyt, of all people, could consider himself very fortunate not to have gifted the visitors a second goal as his poor clearance is picked up by Lindner inside the box. The fair-haired central defender manoeuvres himself into a shooting position, but his left foot effort from 14 yards is a weak one, and goes straight into the arms of Fatih low down. A confident shooter could have caused a lot of trouble to the hosts from a position like that. And then, in time added on, it is Doll who is allowed through along the right hand side of the penalty area, and one on one with the ‘keeper he hits his shot against the inside of the post. The scoreline could so easily have been different, even if it would have flattered the East Germans. It had been Steinmann threading the ball through for the winger. A few seconds earlier Turkey had broke away again, and the advancing Rıdvan was about to play Feyyaz in for a clear run on goal. Rıdvan could, however, not get his pass beyond Pilz, who was acting as libero for the occasion, being the sole visiting outfield player inside his own half.
A minute from time, Turkey had made their second and final substitution, when midfielder Hasan Vezir of Fenerbahçe had replaced Oğuz, who had run himself into the ground. The idea was probably to let Hasan come on in a right-sided role, with Uğur seeing the remaining time out in the centre alongside Ünal. Hasan will only be just shy of three minutes on the pitch, but he also has time to earn a yellow card for a foul on Matthias Lindner some ten yards inside his own half. It had probably been a cheap booking as some sort of scant compensation for the fact that the visitors had had four players’ names taken. Time up.
It had been a lively, fairly open contest where the home side had shown their qualities after a bit of a hesitant start. They possessed some technically gifted players, and going forward they were a joy to behold. Tanju, operating in a slightly deep centre-forward role, opened the scoring after an excellent attack which involved a total of seven players, and Turkey’s half-time lead was well deserved. In the second half, they further emphasised their dominance with two added goals, and at times they tore into the East German defence at will, with midfielders Ünal and Oğuz running the show, though the impressive front three also did a lot of damage. Among the beleaguered visitors, midfielder Pilz appeared to be just about the sole player with some desire, but they did have a consolation goal through the, until then, ineffectual Thom, and Doll would even smack the upright with an effort in time added on. All in all, it was a richly deserved win for an enterprising home select which appeared to have a bright future. The very vociferous home support had expressed their delight during the Turkish siege on the visitors, and they would have been celebrating wildly for hours in the aftermath.
1 Fatih 7.0
seems very confident in most of what he does, and has presence when coming to claim crosses
2 Recep 7.0
usually gets the better of Steinmann, and has that finely tuned aggression in his character which ensures that he is fiery, but never boils over. Also an active player in carrying the ball forward and seeking outlets further up the pitch
3 Semih 7.1
strong on the ball, solid in aerial challenges, though at times somewhat out of position. Less attacking than in the two previous qualifiers
4 Cüneyt 7.1
late blunder which could’ve gifted Lindner a goal apart: The Turkey skipper oozes calmness and assuredness in what he does. A keen participant inside the opposition’s half, and also half decent in the air
5 Gökhan K 7.3
so competent despite his relatively young age. An even better fit as libero judging by this performance. Positioning and aerial play strong
6 Ünal 7.5
does have his moments during the opening half, but it is after the break when he comes to the fore. Dictates play from his inverted left-sided role, and plays a big part in the third goal. Close to scoring when his free-kick smashes against the bar
7 Uğur 7.0
comes into midfield and puts in a big shift with a lot of running
8 Rıdvan 7.2
not as menacing as he had been in Austria, but still a big threat with his direct running and his pace
9 Oğuz 7.5
hugely influental from his central midfield role, and scorer of the third goal. An important player in the transition phase from defence to attack
(16 Hasan –
brought on and yellow-carded for fouling Lindner)
10 Tanju 7.6
a whole lot better from Tanju, who showed plenty of desire in his deep forward role, in addition to scoring twice
(15 Metin –
puts a couple of left wing crosses in after coming on)
11 Feyyaz 7.4
strong performance with plenty of purposeful running and interchanging positions. Twice close to scoring, and provided a perfect assist for the opening goal
1 Weißflog 6.7
terrific stop from Feyyaz’ header, but perhaps unsighted for 2-0, and then unfortunate for 3-0
2 Kreer 6.3
a difficult afternoon up against Feyyaz, and was challenged for pace a lot, which didn’t suit him well
(14 Schößler –
less directly challenged by the same opponent as his predecessor, and leaves a more tidy impression defensively)
3 Stahmann 6.7
exposed for pace, though was generally sitting quite deep. Showed some ‘dirty’ tendencies in challenges, and perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch throughout
4 Lindner 6.8
more mobile and agile than his central defensive partner, though struggled with the lively Tanju. Should possibly have scored with his effort from inside the area late on
5 Döschner 6.9
up against Rıdvan, and was often challenged for pace, but kept surprisingly well with the Turkey danger man
6 Pilz 7.2
full of commitment throughout, and had his team mates been on par with his desire, this could’ve looked differently. Set-piece delievery not always spot on
7 Stübner 6.4
often running between, and quite an underwhelming performance from a player of otherwise fine quality
8 Steinmann 6.7
keeps width well, but not precise enough in his crossing, and a bit of negativity as the hosts’ goals keep coming
9 Kirsten 6.8
tries to stretch the defence through his running into channels, but not always effectful, and though he does have a first half strike on target, he is not a big threat
10 Ernst 6.7
showed a couple of raking diagonal balls, but became too unconcerned defensively for Stange’s liking, and was withdrawn at h-t
(15 Doll 6.8
has an early header just wide and smacks a late effort into the post, but also hides for spells)
11 Thom 6.5
so much more expected of him. He did get his goal, but apart from that he had not much luck