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Makkabi Berlin first Jewish soccer club to compete in German Cup

Founded by Holocaust survivors in 1970, the fifth-tier team lost to Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg.

Makkabi Berlin. Source: Twitter.
Makkabi Berlin. Source: Twitter.

Makkabi Berlin on Sunday became the first Jewish soccer club to compete in the German Cup with a 6-0 loss to VfL Wolfsburg.

The 64-team tournament was founded in 1935 during Nazi rule with Jews not allowed to participate. Makkabi Berlin was established by Holocaust survivors in 1970.

A fifth-tier team, Makkabi’s hopes of a historic upset of the visiting Bundesliga club were dashed early on with two quick strikes by Lukas Nmecha and Jonas Wind.

The team qualified for the German Cup after winning the Berlin Cup in June of last year for the first time, which also earned the team a promotion to the fifth tier.

“The game is a yearning, that there shouldn’t be anything historic about it,” the Associated Press quoted Central Council of Jews in Germany leader Josef Schuster as saying before the game.

“For 90 minutes (or more), it’s all about who wins in a fair, sporting competition—nothing more. These moments give a magic that I would wish for more often in our everyday society.”

Makkabi Berlin is associated with the Maccabi World Union—an international Jewish sports organization that puts together the Maccabiah Games held every four years in Israel.

The regional European Maccabiah Games took place in Germany for the first time in 2015. The tournament was held at Olympic Park in Berlin, where the 1936 Summer Olympics were held during the Nazi era.

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