Reuters Soccer Blog
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As much as Berlin enjoys hosting the German Cup final every year for the badly needed economic stimulus the 75,000 fans bring to the city, watching Bayern Munich celebrate titles on successive Saturdays in Olympiastadion while at the same time knowing their only Bundesliga side, Hertha Berlin, have been banished to the second division might have been just a bit too painful.
Berlin will be the only European capital without even a single club in the top domestic league. It must be hard to imagine Berlin being such a soccer wilderness for those in places like London, where Chelsea just won a domestic double, or other capitals with stacks of top teams to follow.
Bayern’s 4-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Saturday night was the last time the German capital will see top-flight Bundesliga soccer for another year -– until the 2011 Cup final next May. Sadly for Berlin soccer fans, Hertha’s relegation to the Zweite Liga means there will be no Bundesliga football within about 300 km of the capital. Hamburg and Hanover will the nearest Bundesliga towns next season. In fact, there will be no top-flight soccer anywhere in formerly communist East Germany with Energie Cottbus and Hansa Rostock having gone down in previous years.
This sorry state of affairs is compounded by the fact that Bayern Munich -– from the German city probably most loathed in Berlin, an affluent place that is further removed from the ‘poor but sexy’ capital than anywhere else in the country –- have now celebrated two successive titles on their turf in the last week. That is more silverware than Hertha have managed to collect in the last 80 years. Hertha’s last championship season was in back in 1930/31.