It was a case of re-Union Berlin as far as Hibs star Tim Clancy was concerned last night, as he met up with a childhood pal for the first time in 20 years – Patrick Kohlmann, captain of the German side.
The pair used to play together as children when Kohlmann visited his grandmother in the little Irish town of Trim in County Meath, Clancy’s birthplace.
However, they hadn’t met in two decades until last night’s pre-season friendly between the Bundesliga 2 side and Hibs in the Stadion An Der Alten Forsterei, as the Edinburgh club ended their four-game pre-season jaunt to Europe with a 2-0 defeat.
As the pair swapped jerseys at the end of the match, 29-year-old Kohlmann, who played five times for the Republic of Ireland’s Under21 side, said: “I knew Tim when we were boys. I would go on holiday to see my grandmother, my mother’s mother, and we played football together, just as boys do, just for fun. We hadn’t seen each other for 20 years but friends in Ireland had written to tell me we’d be playing each other as Hibs were coming to Berlin. Despite all the years, I recognised him and we managed to speak to each other before the game and swap jerseys afterwards.”
Kohlmann, however, had the last laugh, leading his side to a 2-0 win but, he insisted, he’d been impressed by Hibs. He said: “I thought they were a good team. I know they’ve been playing in Belgium and Holland, that they’ve had a lot of games in a few days, but I hope they enjoyed playing in our stadium.
“The styles of football we play are a little bit different but it was good for us to play against Hibs.”
Kohlmann also faced Hearts at the same venue 12 months ago when Union Berlin won 3-0 but, he insisted, it would be unfair to try to draw a comparison between the two teams. He said: “These are pre-season games. You don’t really know where each team is in terms of preparation, so it is not easy to make any comparison at all.”