Author: Ben Borrow, proud CDTM Fun team member.
Last Saturday, Augsburg welcomed the most tourists it has seen since a bus full of Australians accidentally booked their Oktoberfest accommodation in the city, as Augsburg University hosted the annual Elite Cup: a soccer tournament for academic programs within the Elite Network of Bavaria.
The CDTM contingent was made up of 17 students and two CAs (both named Florian). This group was large enough to divide into two, resulting in a so-called ‘CDTM First Team’ and a rather sadistically-called ‘CDTM Fun Team’.
The first stage of the tournament was a round-robin group stage, where both CDTM teams played three other teams. CDTM First finished on top of their group, while CDTM Fun proceeded to lose every match they played.
After their third straight loss, many members of the Fun Team instinctively tried to find the fun that had been conspicuously lacking from the morning’s affairs, and treated themselves to a buffet lunch of German-style barbequed meat and beer. Their enjoyment was short lived though, for the now heavy-bellied Fun-ones were informed they still needed to fight the lowest-ranked team from the other group to avoid complete ignominy. It thus took one match, one red card, six unsettled stomachs, and a penalty shoot-out for the CDTM Fun Team to announce itself to the Elite Network of Bavaria as the least elite of them all.
Unlike their Fun counterparts, CDTM First intelligently elected not to gorge themselves on beer and wurst after the group stage, and the team came out firing to defeat the reigning champions, Augsburg Finance and Information Management 2-0 in the Preliminary Final. Both CAs found their “flo(w)” and scored. One goal was particularly spectacular, as the whippy Flo Lachner jumped through the air to volley the ball into the sweet spot over the keeper and under the bar. When asked after the goal how he’d managed such a feat of athleticism, Flo referenced his prowess in Qwan Ki Dao, a martial arts discipline no-one else had ever heard of.
But thanks to Flo’s mastery, and strong midfield and backline support, CDTM First had graduated to the Semifinal against a group stage favorite, Regensburg Honors – which CDTM won 1-0.
They’d made it, and now only TMP2 (Theoretical Mathematics Physics Team 2) was standing in the way of CDTM bringing the Elite Cup home. TMP2 and the rain. The rain became especially strong at kick-off and continued throughout the match.
With seven minutes to go, and against the grain of play, TMP2 scored from close range. A sense of urgency descended on the CDTM First players, who did their best to control the ball in the wet conditions. On the sidelines, nervous chatter became louder. How much time could possibly be left?
As the crowd anxiously came to accept CDTM First might come second, Hanno Renner got possession, dribbled through the center and put a long ball into the box. Florian Korte’s wet head met it at the highest point of its trajectory. The ball deflected ever so slightly and climbed over and above the goalie’s outstretched hand for a goal. It was equally a moment to savor as it was a moment to seize. The ball was in the back of the net after a piece of miraculous build-up, but the clock was ticking and the scoreboard read 1-1.
The referee called his whistle to restart play. But just as quickly, he blew it again to call time on the match with scores tied. So for the second time that day, a CDTM team was forced to prove their mettle in penalties. Was CDTM Fun’s earlier loss in a penalty shoot-out merely typical their inability to score the entire day – something CDTM First surely had no trouble with? Or was CDTM Fun’s loss a dark foreshadowing of even greater heartbreak for CDTM First?
The answer to these questions is probably best told with the proverbial ‘band aid’ in mind: fast and painless. CDTM First’s penalty shoot-out did not go well. CDTM First did indeed finish second.
With all said and done though, the day was a great success; and thanks to the generous support of CDTM start-up, Kinexon, the Semi-Final and Final will be analyzed by the participants of the CDTM Sports Analytics elective class in the coming weeks. The players however, might find more solace in knowing TMP2 will host the event in Munich next year, so we can be certain the drive home won’t be so long and difficult to bear next time around.