BERLIN (Reuters) - It is said that any publicity is good publicity and there is one club in Germany that currently lives and breathes by this adage more than any other.
Amateurs Tasmania Berlin have held on to the record for the longest winless streak in the Bundesliga for more than half a century and the Berlin club are desperate to protect it with Schalke 04 only a game away from matching their 31-game run.
While other teams would have buried that statistic deep in the annals, Tasmania's disastrously brief spell in the top division in 1965/66 has been a source of pride for them.
"This record is a cult thing for us," Tasmania chairman Almir Numic told Radio Eins in Berlin this week. "If this record goes no one will be talking about Tasmania any longer.
"We never viewed the record as a negative thing. Other clubs could ask why we see this as a positive thing. It is better to have such coverage instead of no coverage.
"We are enjoying the wide interest in recent weeks which is not a daily thing for an amateur club."
Tasmania have been playing in the lower amateur divisions for years but this season they have become a household name as Schalke have edged ever closer to matching their record.
The Royal Blues have not won a single league game since January 2020 and another draw or loss against Hoffenheim on Saturday would see them equal Tasmania's woeful winless streak.
Tasmania fans tried to fire up Schalke last week in their game at Hertha Berlin, gathering outside the Olympic stadium with banners and signs reading "Hands off our record" and "Get your act together and win" among other messages.
It did not work as Schalke slumped to a 3-0 loss and are now just 90 minutes away from matching Tasmania's feat.
"I thought it was sensational what our fans did. I supported them with this action and even brought them some flags," Numic said.
Even if Schalke equal the record on Saturday there is one milestone they cannot take away from Tasmania just yet.
"We achieved our record in a single season while Schalke will need to do it over two seasons," Numic said.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)
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