Bringing home the trophy!

Berlin squad wins 2017 Zoo Football Tournament

Last Friday in Kraków, the German under-21s won the UEFA Championship; then on Sunday the full national team won the FIFA Confederations Cup in St. Petersburg. And on the Saturday that fell in between, there was one more footballing triumph: the first joint team of Zoo Berlin, Tierpark Berlin and Aquarium Berlin were the champions of the 30th International Zoo Football Tournament. “We are proud to have brought the trophy home to Berlin at last, especially since the city was hosting the event,” said Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “This victory demonstrates the excellent team spirit of our staff and shows that we can achieve great things when we work together.”

Four countries, 15 zoos, 18 teams

The tournament venue alternates among the home cities of the participating zoos, but this year – the event’s 30th edition – was the first time it took place in Berlin. Of course, the zoos of the German capital worked hard to make sure this was an occasion to remember, and the teams from 15 zoos in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic were suitably impressed. The matches took place last Saturday in Berlin’s historic Olympic Stadium, and the city’s Zoo, Tierpark and Aquarium were represented in three joint, mixed teams of different age groups and from different departments.

Getting off on the wrong foot

At first, things didn’t look too good for the Berliners. They had an unlucky draw that saw all three teams end up in the same group, along with Stuttgart. That meant that, whatever happened, at least one team would not make it out of the preliminary round. In the end, two of the Berlin teams didn’t go through.

All of Berlin’s hopes rested on the first team

But Berlin’s first team did well in the preliminaries, defeating both the second and third team 4:0 and coming away with a 0:0 draw against Stuttgart. As the top performer in Group B, the Berliners went on to meet Prague in the quarter-final. Berlin dominated the match from the beginning, ultimately winning 3:0. Now the tournament favourites, Berlin were keen to go head to head against the Tiergarten Schönbrunn team from Vienna in the semi-final. With a score of 2:0, the Berliners emerged victorious.

A thrilling final

Berlin’s opponent in the final was the team from Gelsenkirchen. The Berliners went up a goal in the very first minute of what went on to be a hard-fought and even match in which Berlin had to struggle to maintain their lead. While there were no attempts on the Berlin goal, the Berlin players managed to score again in the final minutes, securing victory in this jubilee edition of the traditional football tournament.

Grand tombola rounds off the occasion

Despite an unfortunate foul that resulted in one of the Dortmund players having to be taken to hospital, the tournament was otherwise a great success. This was in part due to the generous help of Berlin’s top-flight football team Hertha BSC in organising the event. The farewell party took place at the Patagona restaurant in Tierpark Berlin and included a grand tombola with plenty of great prizes donated by numerous sponsors.

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