Schlagwort-Archiv: 2010-11

Season’s over – again

The 2010-11 season comes to a close next Saturday, and it looks very much like 1. FC Magdeburg will compete in the fourth tier for another year. What was a reason for dissatisfaction in the past two years, when Kiel and Babelsberg were promoted, is actually a source of relief. After a disastrous campaign, Magdeburg got very close to being relegated to the fifth tier. So close, in fact, as the club hadn’t been since 2002 when relegation was avoided only on matchday 33.
What had happened? After the club had tried very hard to win promotion in the past two seasons, a huge hole cropped up in the budget, and the board decided to a) lie about its existence and size, then b) admit its existence but lied about the size and then c) created a squad from scratch that was very very cheap, compared to the squads in the past two seasons. Unfortunately, along with being cheap, the team was also weak, aside from a few gifted players. Most of the team certainly had quality for a tier 5 team, but sadly, they had to compete in tier 4. At the start of the season, Magdeburg had lost two forwards who had scored 31 goals between them in the 2009-10 season. Of the team leaders in the past season, only two stayed, Daniel Bauer and Stephan Neumann. In any case, the club got off to a surprisingly good start, with 10 points from 4 matches, and then lost to RB Leipzig 1-2 after a good performance. Unfortunately, that would be the last time the team played well for quite a while – with dire consequences for their rank in the league table. After day 4, Magdeburg had led the league, but at the halfway point of the season – day 17 – they were ranked eleventh, with just four points separating the club from the relegation zone. In the winter break, forward Eddy Vorm left the club for Holland after he’d scored only once in the league, and forward Shergo Biran and midfielder Kosta Rodrigues were signed. The latter was not immediately helpful, while the former was banned from playing due to some transfer issues until March…
After matchday 24 saw the club slump to a 0-2 home defeat at the hands of Plauen, the board sacked manager Ruud Kaiser and brought in Wolfgang Sandhowe who was in charge of the reserve team at the time. The reserve was bottom of their league, too…
While Sandhowe did not at all improve the team’s playing style, Magdeburg did avoid relegation with him in charge. He did manage to get more points per game than Kaiser, but a difference of .18 is negligible at best.
The consequences of this season have already been drawn. Magdeburg will get a team manager who will be in charge of all the club’s teams. Hopefully this person will also understand that Sandhowe is not a long-term option, as his previous record with clubs is not exactly one of success. As there is an impending league reform next season, there will be no relegation from tier 4, making it an ideal season to form a new team to compete for promotion in 2013 – one of the famous two-year plans is in order, I’d say.

To sum up the various team’s performances:

  • Senior team: just avoids promotion with one matchday to go
  • Under 23: Relegated from tier 5, comes in last of 16 teams
  • Under-19: Relegated from Youth Bundesliga (top flight), 9 points behind  non-relegation spots
  • Under-17: Mid of the table, about 20 points behind promotion spot in the second-highest level
  • Under-15: Third in the top level Regionalliga Mitteldeutschland

One more thing: Next season, thing’s will be different at this here blog, although I don’t exactly know in which way. Different is all I can promise.

Fighting relegation on all fronts

Wow. I last posted in October. A number of things happened at 1. FC Magdeburg, but few of them were positive.
After a decent start to the season with 10 points from the first four matches, the team went into a slump that saw the relegation spots creep closer and closer.
In November, a good thing happened – the board stepped down, but unfortunately they are still in charge…interim, until April 15th. Very strange all that. In addition, the chairman of the supervisory board stepped down as well, but unfortunately only after a new president had been selected (albeit not announced officially), so that there is still a lingering mark of the incompetent leadership of the past few years at the club.
Today, however, Magdeburg played RB Leipzig, the team against which the slump had begun with an unlucky 1-2 loss. Although Leipzig are by far the superior team, Magdeburg ran out 2-1 winners today, a small silver lining amid the overall bad situation at the club.
The first team is not at all clear of relegation, the U23 team are second-to-last in tier 5, the Under 19 are 5 points behind a safe spot in the Under 19 Bundesliga and the Under 17 side are not safe yet either.
One can only hope that relegation can be avoided for the first two sides, everything else is a bonus. Oh, did I mention, there is 200k€ hole in the budget? Same amount as had been there at the end of the last season, despite the club cutting costs radically. Kinda tells you all you need to know about the leadership in the past few years.

Well, so much for a quick update on the situation.

The final straw

Today, 1. FC Magdeburg, placed dangerously close to the relegation zone, faced league leaders Chemnitzer FC in the MDCC-Arena in Magdeburg. The game began with two shocks for the hosts. After Wolf almost scored in the opening minute, Chemnitz did better and took the lead after a bit of sleepiness in the home side defense. A few minutes later, right-back Rainer Müller limped off with what looked like an ankle injury.
Magdeburg were in shock, and if Eren Sen hadn’t headed a corner off the line, Chemnitz might have decided the game after just seven minutes. The way it was, Magdeburg were allowed to suffer a bit longer, until former Magdeburg forward Dobrý made it 2-0 after a horrendous pass to the opposition from Magdeburg’s Friebertshäuser. The game was lost then and there, considering both sides‘ quality, but Verkic offered some hope when he scored of a Wijks cross ten minutes before the break. Now came the moment of glory for the referee – who looked generally too lenient, with only two bookings in the entire match, despite plenty of opportunities to caution Chemnitz players for tactical fouls and the like – Verkic headed a long ball on to Wolf who scored the equalizer only to have it turned down for a Verkic foul that never was.

Magdeburg began the second half with new confidence, and put the pressure on Chemnitz. Early on, Wolf scored again, but this time Verkic was adjudged to have interfered with the goalkeeper in the six-yard box. Unjustly, in my humble opinion. As the match continued, Chemnitz were given more and more room by Magdeburg’s desire to equalize – and being the top team they are, they capitalized on the space they were given.
In the end, Magdeburg will feel harshly done by the 1-6 scoreline, the biggest home defeat in the club’s history (unless 0-5 seems worse), and might turn to the referee for a scapegoat, but in reality, a Chemnitz win accurately reflects the reality on the pitch.

The real question to be asked, however, is not if the team are unable to compete in the Regionalliga, or if manager Ruud Kaiser is unable to create a winning team. The question is the same that I have laid out in this blog time and time again: How much longer will the inept leadership of Volker Rehboldt and his cronies be allowed to lead the club down the road to disaster. As a Chemnitz supporter rightly observed in his match preview, Magdeburg have turned from a contender for promotion to the Second Bundesliga to a fourth division side with no hope of promotion at all. And all this within four years.
The problem, of course, is not limited to the board with its chairman Volker Rehboldt, but extends to the supervisory board, with its chairman Dr. Rüdiger Koch. Koch, responsible for sports and culture in the city of Magdeburg, is head of a group of people who are charged with overseeing the performance and actions of the club’s board – and to prevent the board from harming the club.
In the past years, the actions of the board have led to the club missing all season targets, losing the advantage of a 10,000+ spectator average, and to the club having to reduce its budget year after year. All these factors apparently do not constitute acts that would bring the club into danger, as the supervisory board has repeatedly proven by its inaction – and, in the last winter break, a 6-0 vote of confidence for Rehboldt’s board. This year, however, the club face the very real threat of relegation (what with three points between Magdeburg and the first relegation spot), so maybe now the club is in danger?

I’m not claiming everything will get better with a new chairman and a new board. But with a new chairman there is still the possibility that he is not some inept person. Rehboldt has proven that he is incapable of leading the club to a better future time and again. It is time for someone in the supervisory board to grow some balls and stop Rehboldt before it’s too late, before the club slip into division five and oblivion.

Not for the faint of heart

After a successful start in the league – beating Lübeck 2-0 at their Lohmühlestadion – 1. FC Magdeburg were to play the first round in the Saxony-Anhalt Cup against Landesliga side VfB Ottersleben. Ottersleben, from a suburb in the West of Magdeburg, play in tier VII, so most 1. FC Magdeburg fans expected a dominant win.
In the match itself, however, Magdeburg showed nothing of the tactics that new manager Ruud Kaiser had tried to instill into the team: it was not a quick passing game, but one dominated by long passes and long dribblings. As neither of these yielded much success, regulation time ended with a nil-all draw.
Luckily, just a few minutes into extra time, FCM’s Stiefel scored the lead. But Ottersleben were far from giving up and produced a number of great counter-attacks that could have led to an equaliser, but in the end they failed to produce a goal from these opportunities. The punishment soon followed when Magdeburg’s Becker scored another to make it 2-0 for the final score. With a sigh of relief, FCM fans noted that the club with his new team had just „won“ the second of two competitive matches, and had again not conceded a goal.
Only three days later, the second cup round was scheduled, this time against tier VI side Preussen Magdeburg. Everyone and their dog were convinced that this would be a different game compared to the first round match – and they were right. Only not in such fashion as they had thought. The match got off to a good start, when Stiefel’s free-kick in the third minute was deflected into the goal and Magdeburg took the lead. The next twenty minutes the Regionalliga side dominated play, but then Preussen began to take over. To be exact, 1. FC Magdeburg were exclusively defending now – and badly at that. Consequently Preussen – whose starting line-up included no less than nine (!) former FCM players – scored the equaliser and with the half-time whistle took the lead. An abysmal FCM defense saw Preussen increase their lead to 1-3 after captain Daniel Bauer involuntarily deflected a long pass to a Preussen forward.
Spirits in the stands weren’t exactly high, most of the spectators no longer believed FCM could turn the match around. With 7 minute to go, however, Magdeburg’s Verkic let one go from 25 yards out, and, luckily, the ball hit the inside of the post to make it 2-3. The match had become hectic, so much so that referee Schweinefuß had failed to send off Preussen’s captain for unsportsmanlike conduct after he pushed Bauer over following a foul. After Magdeburg’s goal, however, a Preussen player was sent off with a second yellow for disagreement. The match did not get any easier for FCM though, as Preussen fought tooth and nail to hang on to their lead, but to no avail, as Denis Wolf scored the equaliser with three minutes left on the clock. In extra time, it was again Preussen who could have taken the lead, but their forward only managed to hit the bar. But in the second half of extra time 1. FC Magdeburg took the lead for the second time in the match, when Eddy Vorm headed the ball in from close range. While spectators were still celebrating, repeatedly chanting „Eddy, Eddy“, Preussen equalised again, when goalie Tischer failed to make contact with a cross. This was completely avoidable, especially as the referee had sent off another Preussen player for a cynical foul on Wolf. Penalties were then needed to decided the match. Here 1. FC Magdeburg had the better goalie, Tischer saved one shot, and made two takers shoot the ball over the goal: 1. FC Magdeburg were in round three. Remarkably, fans celebrated rather than pour out criticism over the young team that had tortured them so much in the game.
On Monday, the team were treated to a 90-minute video analysis session with their manager, and by now should have put the match behind them, especially defender Daniel Halke who admitted it had been his worst match in the past three years. However, none of the players were able to say exactly why they had failed to produce a good performance that day. In any case, 1. FC Magdeburg has won all three competitive matches so far, although there is room for improvement in the manner of these victories.

Top of the table – and a cup farce

Yesterday, Magdeburg won their first league match of the sesaon, beating Lübeck 2-0. In a repeat of last year’s inaugural fixture, both teams were nervous and not able to consistently play a decent attacking game over 90 minutes. Magdeburg’s defense held tight, allowing only two real opportunities for Lübeck, none of which was converted. In contrast, Magdeburg scored two out of their three opportunities, both by Denis Wolf. This result saw Magdeburg top the table (shared with Eintracht Braunschweig II, but let’s ignore that, shall we?). Pity there’s no way to keep that position for the remainder of the season.
League favorites RB Leipzig only drew Türkiyemspor in their first game, but considering that they bought last season’s top scorer Daniel Frahn for 250,000 Euros and Rot-Weiß Erfurt’s talent Kammlott for 800,000, one can imagine what they’ll do if things look dull in their promotion campaign…

Guests of Honor

Yesterday, 1. FC Magdebug played the second of their test matches during their training camp in Poland. This second match was the reason the club spent a week in Poland at all. Polish club Hutnik Kraków celebrates its 60-year anniversary this year and had wanted a match against attractive opposition. When other clubs go to top tier teams from all over Europe, Hutnik fans wanted to play 1. FC Magdeburg. For some time now, there have been contacts between ultra groups of both sides which ultimately led to Hutnik asking the Magdeburg management about the match via its ultras.
A number of Magdeburg fans traveled to Poland for the match, and from the looks of it had a great time. What was special about the match is the use of pyrotechnics in large quantities (but apparently in a controlled way). In Germany, both clubs would have had much to fear in terms of punishment by the FA, because pyrotechnics are so very dangerous, but in Poland things are different. Take a look:

Selling out instead of shelling out

I might have mentioned some degree of incompetence and inability to understand what’s what on the side of the youth department at 1. FC Magdeburg before. Last time I talked about this, seven players of the successful Under-19 had left despite being young enough to add another season, this time in the top flight at that age, the Under-19 Bundesliga. I added that I wasn’t holding my breath with regard to the management’s ability to secure the services of Daniel Ujazdowski, last season’s U-19 top scorer, for another year or two.
Today, I was proved right. According to youth department chief Carsten Müller, the club could „only go so far“ with regard to a contract offer. Ujazdowski was offered a „perspective in the Under-23 side“, but apparently the offer was not good enough. Naturally, the exact nature of the offer is unknown, but Ujazdowski’s mentor (and former FCM star) Wolfgang Seguin is quoted as saying that „Daniel can only play football, and the club’s offer was really beneath contempt“. [Source]
Assuming that the player was not unreasonable in his demands, it should have been possible to keep him at the club, but instead another talented youth is let go in the desire to save money. But the longterm goal of the club cannot be to be the only Regionalliga side that makes a steady profit – the goal must be promotion and securing a position in the the top 50 of German football (finishing 14th in the 3rd Liga would do that). This will hardly be possible, if the top youth players leave the club year after year. At some point the management has to learn that it is not enough to provide a perspective with regard to the sporting side of things, but that you have to provide for the financial needs of the players – and for their post-football future, by getting them apprenticeship positions for example.

Until then, everything done in forming young talented players will be in vain, as the majority will continue to leave the club once they finish school at the nearby sport schools.