It is the eighth edition of the HTUM Challenge Trophy which is running these days and the Gold Rushers mentioned their aim to reach the semifinals once more.
But the group stage wasn’t really promising and the opponent in the quarterfinal was one of the stronger sides within the tournament and therefore the favorite in this encounter. Therefore the Czech team FCOB Kamenice was mentioned to be the winner in the internal ‘Guess game’ from all the managers who put a prediction. Nobody bet a dime on a win of the Gold Rushers but Sir Schluurggi did. We are not sure what his intention was to do so; did he really believe in a win of his team? Or was it meant to provoke Kamenice and their manager Xrust? Or was it simply because he as the manager of the team has to show faith? We tried to talk to him before the match was whistled to be kicked off, but we failed.
The group stage seemed to be a tough one when it was announced by the organizers. With Klaukkala Bears, Horus Falcons and the Blue Hornets (FC X-team) it should become a breathtaking decision if the Gold Rushers will make it to the quarters or miss the qualification for the third time. The Bears and the Rushers met in the final game and Rünenberg had to win the game, after they won against the Hornets and played a draw against the Falcons, to be qualified for sure. In the end another draw was enough since the Falcons and the Hornets both weren’t able to score and played a goalless draw.
With one close win and two draws the team of Coach Dario Pfyl met with the winner of the so called ‘group of death’ and the rehearsal on Saturday ended in a result that couldn’t be called motivating. Malte Wehrda was able to give the home team a nice lead of 2-0 before the break, but the guys failed to raise that even more and then Energie Meggen scored the reducer and finally the equalizer eight respectively one minute before the final whistle was blown. Another draw, it seems like the mates should get a new nickname ‘kings of draw’.
Since we failed to talk to Sir Schluurggi before the game, we tried to get Coach Dario Pfyl or someone else to ask one or two questions but for some reasons there was no one available or willing to talk to us, therefore we had to watch the game without any information about it. Kamenice is known for their strength in playing counter attacks and we tried to figure out how Coach Dario Pfyl wanted to avoid them to use this tactic and we realized that the Gold Rushers were focused on keeping the ball within their lines and shoot from far instead of trying to get into the box. But all long shots missed the target and the first goal was scored from an attempt from the right side, when Bruno Aoustin scored with a dropkick. The equalizer was scored by Zděnek Lacek finishing one of the many counters and because these two goals have been all in ninety minutes (another draw) and also after extra time, the last semifinalist had to be found in an exciting penalty-shootout including not less than sixteen penalties!
While Arnold Meneske missed the first shot of Rünenberg he managed to save the last of the first five of FCOB Kamenice. All other players hit the target without giving the keepers a chance to save one of the shots, until Zděnek Lacek’s shot could be saved by Arnold Meneske. The pressure on Marcel Nuehrich was huge; he could become the man who gives the Gold Rushers their second semifinal… and he made it! The Gold Rushers won this exciting and entertaining match with a final score of 8-7! Short after the game we finally had the chance to get a statement of manager Sir Schluurggi:
Yes, I truly believed in a win of our team, when I predicted it. We, Coach Dario Pfyl and me, spent hours of finding the most promising way to face the very strong Czechs and we decided to act like we did, because according to our knowledge it would be the only way to gain a win, even it would be (as we now know) an extremely close one. We are happy and proud to play another semifinal and all of us are looking forward to meet the third Czech team in this edition of the Trophy!
The Gold Rushers will meet the team of manager Ballinho, the founder of the HTUM Challenge Trophy, FC Prague Slivers in the semis for the first time in a tournament. This will be another energy-sapping encounter for sure, but first they’ll play their second game in the Cup and in the League.