FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin – Match Report vs FC Energie Cottbus (30/07/2023)

In matchday one of the new Regionalliga Northeast campaign, Viktoria Berlin was visited by Energie Cottbus and earned a 2-1 victory. Manager Semih Keskin deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation with a high block and aggressive press. Viktoria Berlin’s tactical mindset on the attack was to utilize direct buildup with long passing to break down the defense with high tempo. This aggressive counterattacking style left them open at the back at times which led to Energie Cottbus’s lone goal and what could have been the equalizer. Viktoria Berlin’s first goal came through academy graduate and attacking midfielder Metehan Yildirim from inside the box on a composed right footed shot. The second came through new signing Shean Mensah on a first-time finish in transition.  


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Diren-Mehmet Günay

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Germany
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 10/05/2003
  • Club: Viktoria Berlin
  • Career: Tennis Borussia Berlin (Y)
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Left

Diren-Mehmet Günay is a German central midfielder that played the full 90 minutes before being subbed out in stoppage time. He is average height with a wiry frame and displayed the high work rate on both ends that is needed to be a quality box-to-box midfielder. His above average pace, admirable aggression and strength, and borderline elite agility combined for a near perfect number 8 athletic profile. 

On the attack, Günay could spread play with either foot with ease. His constant scanning found creative options for distribution often and early due to his snappy decision-making. His short distribution was mostly with his dominant left and was precise in the face of midfield pressure. When distributing long and through the air, he mixed it up with both feet finding teammates through with accuracy. There were times when he hit those aerial passes with too much weight, but there were far more times in which he spurred dangerous counterattacks or created a chance in behind. Günay’s vision and spread/range of distribution served as a key component to the direct buildup style employed by Viktoria Berlin.  

In support of the attack, he mixed it up by either staying in the base of midfield after distributing or going on hard running central runs from box-to-box to crash inside. This led to receiving at the edge of the box to shot from long or display his above average dribbling technique plus strength in press resistance to get in at goal. One such time led to a strong run into the box using skill to dribble past multiple defenders and shoot with his left powerfully at the near post, but it missed off the side netting. Günay’s shooting ability was not limited to his left as he did shoot from long and on target with his weaker right foot.  

Defensively, his high work rate showed the most as he hustled back into defense reacting quickly to change of possession. Günay would get up high in the press in central midfield and not shy away from physicality despite his frame. He engaged in physical shoulder-to-shoulder duels, not always winning but making his presence felt. His relentlessness in poking and prodding for the ball in stand tackles regained possession for him a number of times and his quickness to tackle while positioning his body as to not foul made his timing less important. His tackling became more about frequency in action rather than precision which did lead to his yellow card booking after pressing high immediately on loss of possession. Günay also anticipated passes on numerous occasions to come away with a few interceptions in this match. His instincts defending in midfield made him a valuable member of the high press and a safe bet in protecting the back line.  

Rating – A1

Günay was all over the pitch and exhibited all the traits needed to be an elite central midfielder in the box-to-box role. Based on this performance, he is surely too good for this level, and it would not be surprising if a top Bundesliga club signs him to join their U23 squad or loan him out. He has Freiburg written all over him. Though, Günay has spent his entire academy and club career in Berlin so Union or Hertha make sense, too.  

Shean Mensah

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Ghana
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 21/12/1999
  • Club: Viktoria Berlin
  • Career: Stern Britz (Y), BSV GW Neukölln (Y), BW Berlin, VSG Altglienicke
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Secondary Position: Right Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

Shean Mensah is a free signing from VSG Altglienicke and Bridge for Talents (Berlin Sports Consulting) client that started at LW and completed the full 90 minutes. He is 178 cm with near elite pace for this level to stretch the flank. The Ghanaian displayed average body control and nice short area quickness and burst while not being shy with physicality. He also worked hard when running up and down the flank for a high work rate in and out of possession.  

Mensah’s pace on overlapping runs in support stretched the flank and helped him get open in behind to receive through, catching slower defenders off their line. In addition, this pace helped him in his central runs when filling in the middle of the pitch in transition. This type of run led directly to his right footed first-time finish crashing in the box with placement low to the back corner. His straight-line speed was not able to be matched by any defender and his long dribbles on one solo run toward goal separated him from the back line with ease. His drawback in attacking was his technique and decision-making on ball. Although his dribbling was average for this level, it needs to improve if he is to make the step up. He can overdribble due to his confidence, and although his technique is tight, his quickness to win take ons after cutting inside toward the box left some to be desired. Mensah’s press resistance when holding up was great and that was when his dribbling technique shone the most. When feeling the pressure around the box, he needed to give more of a thought into distribution. At this level, he could take on players quickly after receiving in the box taking a dribble inside onto his dominant right and firing a low shot with that space. Although some of these shot attempts were dangerous, more often it was blocked or dispossessed by a tackle or the goalkeeper. Mensah should look to play make more often, as his lateral and back passing with his dominant foot was largely accurate and he impressed me with an entry pass to the top of the box past multiple defenders after cutting inside with pace to set up a chance. His pace cutting in to finish from the wing fits Viktoria Berlin’s attacking identity quite well.  

On the press, Mensah was quite impressive in not only his work rate but his instincts/positioning, too. He constantly pressed aggressive getting on the opposition’s back high along the flank. His persistent poking at the ball during his stand tackles was quite effective in frustrating opponents in the buildup and Mensah managed to win some of those duels. His positioning to get into passing lanes led to some blocks and he anticipated well to close out quickly on his marker to engage in a duel or attempt an interception.  

Rating – A2

Mensah finishes in volume and has top pace for this level of play. Alongside that, his work rate and pressing output make him an ideal German winger. With improvement in a couple areas of his game, he can move up to 3. Liga with few problems soon. The combination of athleticism and determination alone makes him one to watch in Regionalliga this season.  

Alexander Dikarev

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Germany
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 07/12/2004
  • Club: Viktoria Berlin
  • Career: VfV Hildesheim
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Alexander Dikarev is a full back that caught my eye in Oberliga action last season and turned that success into a move up to Regionalliga. He subbed on in the 78th minute of this match for Larry-Nana Oellers, who was having a nice match defending the flank despite a yellow card, as defensive reinforcement. Dikarev is above average height for the position with a mature build for his age. He was also quick in his reactions and displayed an aggressive, physical mindset.  

He did not have enough time or the tactical instruction to showcase his distribution ability I observed when he played inverted left back for Hildesheim last season. Where he did stand out was in his defensive actions and aggressive approach to duels and 1v1s. During his short appearance, he packed in many challenges both sliding and standing. Dikarev performed them with nice timing and did not foul despite his physical style. He anticipated passes toward his area well and that allowed him to get the jump on duels and apply pressure early. His quickness aided him in those situations as well as closing out on his marker down the wing. Dikarev’s pace also saw him make some impressive recovery runs into the final third wing and the box, applying pressure from behind on the shooter or setting him up for a timely slide tackle to push possession back and halt an attack. Off ball, he stuck to his line consistently, only stepping up when his instincts sensed danger for him to clear out. Dikarev also marked attentively especially at his back post in his cameo and was ready to slide inside to cover for center backs when called upon.  

Rating – A2

In his fourth tier debut, Dikarev seemed improved defensively from his time in the fifth tier. Based on his defending alone, he will have earned more minutes in the Viktoria Berlin first XI, as his abilities seemed translatable to even 3. Liga early on. Dikarev must confirm my thoughts from Oberliga at this new level regarding his in possession distribution and technique in order to move up to an A1. 

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