Last time I wrote in here, we were 6 points behind non-relegation. That was just before the away match in Lübeck on March 15. Since then, Magdeburg have not lost a single game and have picked up 11 out of 15 points.
But first things first: in Lübeck, Linz put Steffen Baumgart up front with Najeh Braham, as Christian Reimann had failed to convince Linz in training. The game itself then became a memorable one, though not in a positive way from Magdeburg’s point of view. 36 minutes into the match, Lübeck’s Hirsch was sent off with a second yellow for a foul on Baumgart inside the box – but Gerster’s penalty went to the outside of the post and then wide. Luckily, a Braham shot from outside the box surprised Lübeck’s goalie Hollerieth and Magdeburg thus took the lead. After the break, hopes were high that Magdeburg could use their numerical advantage and do something for the goal differential, but alas, it was not to be.
In the 63rd, Magdeburg were given another penalty, and this time Baumgart took the ball, but Hollerieth saved. Things got more embarrassing for Magdeburg, when Lübeck’s Hollerieth picked up an injury with 15 minutes left on the clock – and then got another player sent off. As Lübeck had already used their three substitutes, Hollerieth had to be replaced by an outfield player, but Magdeburg couldn’t find a way past him and in the end even had to fear for their three points. When the final whistle was blown, Lübeck had won a morale victory – but Magdeburg took the three points.
VfB Lübeck: Hollerieth – Weber (75′ Oppermann), Rump, Wehrendt, Caruso – Altin, Hirsch, Sievers, Martens (46′ Dogan/ 73′ Canale) – Kadah, Hoffmann
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Otte, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann (72′ Wejsfelt) – Müller (84′ Kullmann), Gerster, Habryka, Lindemann – Braham, Baumgart (78′ Reimann)
36′ Hirsch 2nd Yellow
37′ Gerster misses penalty
41′ Braham 1-0
63′ Baumgart misses penalty
75′ Hollerieth injured
83′ Canale 2nd Yellow
The week after this memorable embarrassment, Magdeburg faced then-league leaders Rot-Weiß Oberhausen at home. The game ended in a nil-all draw, a justified result, as the teams were on par most of the time, even though Oberhausen had had the better chances. Magdeburg’s best opportunity came after a lob from Jarakovic, but unfortunately it went wide of the left post. In the end, Magdeburg were content with the point won, as they were still on par with Linz’s master plan.
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Otte (46′ Jarakovic), Prest, Wejsfelt, Kallnik – Habryka (85′ Agyemang), Neumann, Zander, Müller – Baumgart, Braham
Rot-Weiß Oberhausen: Semmler – Embers, Pappas, Schlieter, Kruse – Reichert, Terranova, D. Müller (67′ Schäper), Landers (90′ Landers) – Lüttmann (67′ Aksoy), Kaya
Before the next away match at Düsseldorf, Magdeburg fans weren’t sure what to expect. Düsseldorf were placed well above Magdeburg in the table and were still hoping to gain promotion to 2nd Bundesliga. Magdeburg on the other hand still had the second-worst away record in the entire league. But when Probst slid into a Gerster free kick to take the lead, Magdeburg fans (approximately 1,400 had travelled to Düsseldorf) were getting their hopes up. But Düsseldorf dominated the game and in the 44th had the bst opportunity to equalise, when the referee pointed to the spot in a ridiculous decision. Fortuna’s Lawaree obviously felt the same and Beer could save his penalty kick quite easily. In the second half of the game, Düsseldorf tried desperately for the equaliser, but were denied again and again by Christian Beer – and in the 92nd, Jarakovic scored off a counter-attack that was beautifully executed by Florian Müller and himself, clinching the three points for Magdeburg. During the game, Magdeburg manager Linz was sent into the stands for leaving his zone, but the Düsseldorf player that tried to take Linz’s glasses off in the incident went strangely unpunished.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Melka – Heeren (63′ Hergesell), Langeneke (56′ Palikuca), Krecidlo (72′ Erwig), Cakir – Anfang, Cebe, Lambertz, Caillas – Lawarée, Sahin
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Prest, Kallnik, Probst, Neumann – Gerster, Lindemann (46′ Wejsfelt), Habryka, Müller – Reimann (68′ Jarakovic), Braham
8′ Probst 0-1
41′ Lawaree misses penalty
90′ Jarakovic 0-2
Sportschau highlight video
After this unexpected victory, Magdeburg faced a difficult home game. RW Ahlen came to town, and they had the best away record – not in terms of points (3rd-best in that respect), but in terms of goals scored: Almost 2 per away game. Now Magdeburg had merely conceded one goal since Linz took over, and none of the top teams had been able to beat FCM in their own stadium. But when Ahlen took the lead after just 9 minutes – Kallnik had been nice enough to pass the ball to an Ahlen winger instead of clearing it – and doubled that lead just four minutes later off a corner, many in the stadium doubted the ability of the team to turn this around. Thankfully, Kallnik scored a spot kick after Reimann had been fouled in the box, marking the first successful penalty from a Magdeburg player since Jarakovic’s equalizer against Babelsberg in October. In the remaining time of the first half, Magdeburg began to dominate the match, but could not produce any clear-cut opportunities.
In the second half, it was once more Najeh Braham who fired in a shot from three yards out. The equalizer was met with cheers as loud as at several points in the last season, but this cheering didn’t help push the team far enough: They just couldn’t score a winning goal. In the end, manager Linz wasn’t sure whether to be happy or angry with the performance. Unfortunately, Dresden managed to turn an impending home loss against Emden into a win with just 5 minutes left on the clock, leaving Magdeburg 4 points behind that ominous line between places 10 and 11.
The game also saw wht some speculate will have been Lindemann’s last stint in the first team for a long time. After repeatedly ignoring his manager’s instructions and a dismal performance he was subbed in the 34th – not a tactical change at all.
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Probst, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann – Müller, Gerster, Habryka (46′ Manai), Lindemann (34′ Baumgart) – Braham, Reimann
Rot-Weiss Ahlen: Lenz – Busch, di Gregorio, Maul, Miletic – Thioune (63′ Wiemann), Bäumer – Großkreutz (62′ Stahlberg), Heithoelter, Chitsulo (76′ Reus) – Toborg
9′ Toborg 0-1
13′ Di Gregorio 0-2
17′ Kallnik 1-2 (penalty)
56′ Braham 2-2
Sportschau highlights video
Yesterday, Magdeburg were involved in the first of two so-called six-point-matches. The team faced Borussia Dortmund’s reserves at Stadion Rote Erde. Dortmund were on #10 in the table, 6 points ahead of Magdeburg, but Magdeburg still have a game in hand. In a tight game, Christian Reimann scored the winning goal with a beautiful volley after Dortmund had attempted to clear a Gerster corner. The rest of the game was mainly Dortmund attacking furiously and Magdeburg defending, certainly not what Linz would have liked to see – and almost with a bad ending for Magdeburg, when Beer miscalculated a corner and a Dortmund player headed home, almost, that is, as Neumann was able to clear the ball.
Magdeburg now are three points behind the non-relegation zone and play Kickers Emden next Friday – wonder what the welcome for Dennis Tornieporth will be like. Another thing to watch out for is whether VfB Lübeck can finish the season: Last week the club went into receivership and if they cannot finish the season, their matches will be annulled, meaning that FC Magdeburg will lose their 6 points and would move further down in the table.
Borussia Dortmund II: Höttecke – Brzenska, Hillenbrand (76′ Oscislawski), Njambe, Hünemeier – Großkreutz (61′ Öztekin), Omerbegovic, Schmelzer, Eggert (72′ Boztepe) – Nöthe, Senesie
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Probst, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann – Baumgart (61′ Manai), F. Müller (61′ Kullmann), Wejsfelt, Gerster – Reimann (89′ Zander), Braham
29′ Reimann 0-1