Schlagwort-Archiv: Relegation

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.

Crisis has come to Magdeburg

With Magdeburg as of yesterday having the third-worst start of the decade, the time has come to take a long hard look at the club in general, including management and the whole shebang.

It’s over

Not only is the season at its end, but also the time 1. FC Magdeburg spends in tier III of German football. Thanks to yet another league reform the 11th place is not enough to stay up, and Magdeburg will have to play in the then-tier IV Regionalliga Nord come next season.
How could a club that finished 3rd last season play this badly, you ask? As usual the answer to that question is rather complex. One factor, and basically speaking the factor that led to this miserable result is the 3rd place from the last season. A lot of people assumed that the team achieved this rank because of its inherent qualities, and unfortunately, members of the Magdeburg board and at least in part the manager were among those people. This has led to only very inadequate players coming in, such as Eric Agyemang and Dennis Tornieporth, both of which were unable to fulfill the expectations. Also, the club was not able to compensate for the loss of forward Aleksandar Kotuljac who went to Greuter Fürth (and has established himself rather well in the 2nd Bundesliga) and even Sven Kubis was missed by some. These two issues, the overconfidence in the strength of the team and the fact that as a consequence no new players that could increase that quality (an exception is, of course, Florian Müller who had a brilliant season) were signed are the origin of all problems that the club has had in this season.
From these issues arose another. Manager Dirk Heyne was soon obviously helpless and clueless with regard to the problems that the team had, but instead of sacking him at the end of the first half of the season, the board let him stay on for the first two matches of the second half as well, maybe because they thought that after beating Wuppertal in November things would get better, but I suspect that the actual reasons are Heyne’s merits with the club (having played as goalkeeper for more than 20 years and winning promotion to Regionalliga) and the fact that Heyne’s father had died only recently. Both factors are not actual reasons not to sack a manager, in fact this decision might be what cost us the league.
The next two matches were a disaster, points-wise: Magdeburg drew Werder Bremen U23 at home and lost to Energie Cottbus U23 away. Then Heyne was gone. I wonder if a prompter reaction by the board might have changed things, but it’s no use crying over spilt milk now.
Heyne’s reign ended with a terrible record: Of the 20 matches that the club played, they won merely 6, drew another 6 and lost 8. Only 1 away match was won and the goal record was equally abysmal: 19 goals, but 24 conceded.
As a successor, Magdeburg brought in Paul Linz, and finally the board signed players that could potentially help us: Tunisian forward Najeh Braham, Christian Reimann who came with the recommendation of 48 goals in 68 matches, albeit in tier IV, and Steffen Baumgart, an experienced former Bundesliga player and allrounder. In the test matches things looked good and a confident performance in the first match after the winter break spread a careful optimism, when Magdeburg beat Hamburger SV U23 2-0. But the away game at Dresden showed the old troubles again, the team looked scared, ran scared – and they played that way too, much to the chagrin of their manager. He had been trying to instill a hunger for attacking football into them, but that was not easy, after years of playing a 3-5-2 under Dirk Heyne, which most of the time turned into a 5-3-2 or rather 5-5-0.
The next home opposition was minnows Verl and Magdeburg fulfilled their task, beating them 2-0 again. But that was that. Curiously enough, Magdeburg began to win away games, even those that were highly unlikely, such as the ones in Düsseldorf or Berlin. However, this came at a price, as it seems, because since the Verl game, Magdeburg have not been able to win at home. None of these draws and even the loss against Essen on the penultimate matchday were of such a nature that you could have blamed the team. It’s just bad luck if you hit the bar twice in one game…it just wasn’t meant to be.
After yesterdays 2-1 away win at Wuppertal, the club were relegated on goal difference, showing that the management’s and the board’s failure to correctly identify weaknesses in the team was fatal in this season. However, in the new 18-team Regionalliga Nord, Magdeburg will have to try for immediate promotion. If they do not, they run the risk of losing much of their attendance (last season had the highest average attendance since 1983/84, with 11.800 spectators per game) and also their manager. Paul Linz’s contract runs out in June as the club did not qualify for the 3rd Liga. However, he is willing to stay if he gets a competitive team. The budget for next season is rumored to be 3 million euros. One should be able to do something with that.

Regionalliga Nord will start on August 16th, a lot of time to look for and sign new, talented and good players that can help put 1. FC Magdeburg back where they belong: Into a professional league.