Monatsarchiv: November 2007

1 win down, 11 to go

First things first: Magdeburg won against Wuppertal, the sixth win of the season. The first half was the best football the team has played so far.
Then, another event shed a new light on the board’s decision not to sack Heyne on Monday last week. Heyne’s father died on Friday, apparently after a prolonged illness. That illness has most certainly been weighing on Heyne’s mind. However, this raises a question: While this is highly speculative, it appears his fahter’s sickness has been a distractive influence on Heyne, adding to the stress caused by the league situation. Would it not have been beneficial to allow Heyne time off from his responsibilities to deal with that situation? Of course, the point’s moot now, but one has to wonder whether the league situation would be as it is now…

On to the game then. Magdeburg fielded a 4-3-1-2 formation, still without either Wejsfelt or Prest, but instead Grundmann and Kallnik as central defenders, and Neumann and Probst on the left and right wings, respectively. The midfield featured Lindemann and Florian Müller on the wings with Gerster filling the central position. Manai played an attacking midfielder behind forwards Jarakovic and Agyemang.
Magdeburg put Wuppertal under pressure right from the start, but they held their ground firmly, at the expense of a number of free-kicks. They also remained dangerous on the occasional counter-attack…at one point Kallnik was lucky his tactical foul was not punished with a yellow card – he later received one for a similar transgression.
With the number of fouls called on both sides, it came as no surprise that the first goal of the game would come off a free-kick. After a great run from Agyemang he was tripped just outside the box (he had been involved in a tackle inside the box earlier, but no penalty was given and TV footage proved inconclusive). Gerster and Lindemann positioned themselves to take the kick and Wuppertal’s Maly put the wall right into the way of a potential Lindemann hammer – but Gerster just lifted the ball over the wall, and thanks to the setting sun, Maly could only see it again as it had already gone in. Magdeburg continued to control the game but could not create any more goals.
With only seconds remaining before half-time, referee Schempershauwe whistled for a free-kick just to the right of Magdeburg’s box, but as no Wuppertal player made a move to take the kick, the ref ended the first half right then and there. Wuppertal’s captain Rietpietsch was less than enthused, and he apparently made that clear to Schempershauwe in no uncertain words. His efforts were rewarded with a red card, and with only Magdeburg’s goalie still on the pitch, the scene must’ve made an entertaining story for his comrades in the dressing room.
In the second half, Magdeburg lost their dominant stance, with Wuppertal attacking fiercely, but again, nothing really dangerous was created by them. FC Magdeburg found themselves reduced to the occasional counter-attack and a well-executed one brought on goal number two: Manai passed the ball into space for Agyemang who capped his run with a low cross for Jarakovic who netted the ball.
As Wuppertal proved unable to score, FC Magdeburg ran out 2-0 winners.
What is it worth then? Madeburg moved to #12 in the table with 23 points, but remain 5 points behind the magical 10th place. On Saturday, Magdeburg face Bremen’s reserves (9th, 29 pts), then they travel to Cottbus‘ reserves (18th, 13 pts) for the final match of the year. If the victory over Wuppertal is to be worth anything at all, both games must be won, a feat difficult to achieve as reserve teams are technically well-versed and fast. In my opinion, this one game cannot change the critical attitude towards Heyne’s performances.

Was denn, noch eins?

Nachdem ich hier schon länger über den Fußballclub 1. FC Magdeburg und seine gar lustigen Abenteuer schreibe (und das in einer Sprache, die ganz gewiss nicht meine Muttersprache ist…), staute sich in letzter Zeit doch einiges an anderweitig wissenswerten Dingen auf.
Oder kurz: Es gibt so viel in der Welt, worüber es sich zu schreiben lohnt (sprich: worüber man sich aufregen könnte), dass ein Zweitblog nötig war.
Und, oh Wunder: Dieses hier ist das Zweitblog. Mal sehen, wie lang es hält…

Crisis – and no consequences?

On Monday evening, the FC Magdeburg held an emergency meeting. After defeat in Essen the distance to the magical 10th position had grown to 6 points and the club have now been now waiting for a win for 5 league games.
Many had expected manager Dirk Heyne to be sacked yesterday, but despite speculation as to his successor being rife, no decision has been reached yesterday, as has transpired now. The board still have not issued a statement.
It seems that despite knowing that FC Magdeburg will need to gather 34 points from the remaining 19 league games, the board believe that there is still ample time to allow for some more experimentation on the side of Dirk Heyne and the team.
I personally do believe this to be a very bad decision. From my perspective, Heyne has failed to deliver a convincing performance in the past twenty league matches. The one consistency in these matches has been the enormous lack of an attacking strategy. This lead to the team’s helplessness whenever an opponent took the lead in a game. Generally, FC Magdeburg were unable to control a game no matter who the opposition, and despite a ordinarily well-working defense, were hardly ever able to avoid conceding one or more goals. Due to the lack of offensive power, conceding a goal always meant losing two or all points.
In the past twenty league matches, Magdeburg have not turned around any game, and they also have not been able to retake the lead after an equaliser.
Of the past twenty matches, Magdeburg only won 5, drew 7 and lost 8. Six of the draws ended 1-all, and half the time Magdeburg lost a lead in these games (vs. Leverkusen II in May, Energie Cottbus II in August, and vs. Union Berlin in November). In their 8 losses, Magdeburg managed to only score 5 goals – and two of these were scored in the last season in the loss at Emden. And now let’s look at the 5 wins, shall we? In these 5 matches, Magdeburg didn’t concede a single goal, three wins were 1-0 affairs, one a 2-0 and the „biggest“ win a 3-0. Both these latter matches were against inept opposition, the three former were only won with a huge amount, especially the 1-0 against Dresden in August.
There is no improvement visible at all. Considering the rather long period (we’re talking 6 months here, remember) Heyne had to improve the situation, I do not see how he could possibly turn things round in the winter break. Especially considering the fact that the teams in the upper half of the table will most likely begin approaching the club’s better players, such as Florian Müller or Ivica Jarakovic.
In my mind, the board should have sacked Heyne on Monday.

An early goal! – Oh crud

Two good things can be said about FC Magdeburg’s match against Union Berlin. First, there is Florian Müller’s goal and his overall great performance. Second, there’s the choice for sponsor of the day: Against „Eisern Union“ (Iron Union, a common nickname for the club from Berlin-Köpenick) a company which specializes in recycling and scrap iron filled out this role.
The rest is silence, as the Bard says.

Lineups
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Grundmann, Prest, Wejsfelt – F.Müller, Habryka, A.Müller (79′ Manai), Gerster, Neumann – Lindemann (62′ von der Weth), Jarakovic (62′ Zander)

1. FC Union Berlin: Glinker – Ruprecht, Stuff, Göhlert, Schulz – Gebhardt (88′ Spasskov), Streit (46′ Younga Mouhani), Mattuschka (85′ Zschiesche), Bemben – Patschinski, Benyamina

Score summary
2′ Florian Müller 1-0
75′ Ruprecht 1-1

Attendance
12,874

Ok, so that was not all…

After the most disappointing defeat against Babelsberg , Magdeburg had the misfortune to travel to Rot-Weiß Erfurt, one of this season’s top teams. Erfurt had the possibility of climbing to the second spot in the table, they only had to win the match. And that shouldn’t be a problem, judging by the results of both teams so far. Magdeburg had only managed to produce 13 goals in 14 matches, while conceding 14, Erfurt by contrast had scored 31 times, among their games such memorable encounters as the 6-3 home victory against Ahlen – they had been down 0-2 after twelve minutes.
      Magdeburg could not draw any hope from their own performances, especially not from the past two league matches. But there was still a silver lining, as Erfurt were missing no less than three key players: Midfielder Schnetzler had been suspended after picking up his 5th yellow card, forward Kumbela had been banned for a week and two cup matches after headbutting an opposition player in Erfurt’s cup match mid-week. Last but not least, Brazilian midfielder Thiago Rockenbach da Silva was out with an injury. Still, Erfurt were favorites to win the match, but against my better judgment I took it upon myself to undertake the 140-mile trip to the capital of Thuringia.
      Upon arriving at Erfurt’s Steigerwaldstadion, two things immediately caught my attention. First, the presence of low-alcoholic beer proved the police considered the match one of medium risk, and second that the sales personnel was protected by a metal fence from the visiting fans, so you had to grab your beer or Thüringer Würstchen through the fence. I haven’t seen that before in any stadium. Makes you feel thoroughly welcome.
      Anyway, the match started and Magdeburg achieved something unheard of in this season: Dominance. During the first half, Magdeburg didn’t play any fancy football, but they still managed to put Erfurt under so much pressure that the hosts only had two shots on goal in the first 45 minutes.
Magdeburg took the lead when Grundmann put a header off a Gerster cross into the goal. Unfortunately, in all other instances when Magdeburg produced opportunities, there was always an Erfurt player on hand to clear the ball, scratch it off the goal line or what have you.
      And then came the 45th minute, Erfurt were awarded a corner kick and Magdeburg proved unable to put the ball out of their box – Erfurt equalized. Magdeburg’s defenders were too hesitant in kicking the ball out and goalie Christian Beer was not quite up to his usual standard of keeping.
      With quite some apprehension about what might happen in the second half, the teams went into the halftime break, leaving FC Magdeburg fans wondering what was going on. The apprehension was further amplified when Ivica Jarakovic, vital for Magdeburg’s attacking play, was subbed out at half-time. However, Magdeburg continued to work hard, trying to re-take the lead, but this time they were without luck as on their few chances they were denied another goal. Instead, Erfurt took the lead when Magdeburg was again unable to get the ball out of the box. Defensive midfielder Habryka was the unlucky one whose clearance hit Erfurt’s Wolf plain in chest – he had no problems scoring from 12 yards.
      Things got from bad to worse as Magdeburg were now outplayed, and consequently Erfurt scored again. Two of their players found themselves unmarked in 1. FC Magdeburg’s box and Wolf headed in after one of his teammates headed (!) the ball to him – that looked more like a training match. In the end, the deserved penalty after a clumsy challenge by Wejsfelt didn’t really matter anymore. Magdeburg were soundly beaten, and deservedly so.

      What are the conclusions to be drawn from 15 terrible performances in the season so far, with only one or two half-decent half-times? Naturally, after Magdeburg’s third-place finish in the last season, many expected the club to do well in the new season, too, at least it was expected the team would not struggle to clinch the vital top-half finish ( league reform and all that). In reality, it turns out the team was performing somewhat above their abilities in the last season. For the past few games, Magdeburg have shown a certain inaptitude in creating a convincing build-up play and more recently also shown some appalling difficulties in defense (the latter seemed to have been resolved after they had plagued the club at the start of the season). The combination of these two problem areas are of course fatal to 1. FC Magdeburg’s goal of qualifying for the new third tier of German football.
      These difficulties can be traced to one central issue – Magdeburg lack a playmaker, able of consistently putting in good performances. Kais Manai – he filled out that position in the past season, at least for some time – is out of form, and has apparently also had a falling-out with manager Dirk Heyne. Lindemann is not able to act as playmaker because he often lacks vision and also suffers from some difficulties in passing the ball. Gerster is a different case: while he certainly has vision, he often takes too long to decide what to do with the ball and thus slows down the game. Finally, young talent Deumelandt is not experienced enough to perform at Regionalliga level (yet).
      But instead of deciding to take play on the wings (where Magdeburg have some able players), Dirk Heyne apparently has no concept for compensating the lack of a playmaker – and no concept for attacking football at all, it would seem, making it almost impossible for Magdeburg to come back from behind in a game. After yesterday’s match, Heyne’s statements to the press were evident of this helplessness. He said that while in the first half, most things went according to plan, and then went on to say that things get difficult when a team is two goals behind. While there is no argument here, the crux of the matter is the fact that Magdeburg were left two goals behind from being one goal up. Pit Grundmann’s statement made clear that the team themselves have no idea what exactly went wrong – the overall mentality at the club seems to be one of despair and helplessness. As this mentality is apparently shared by Dirk Heyne, I personally do not see another way out of the issue than changing the manager. While Heyne may have achieved much for 1. FC Magdeburg this should not stop the board from drawing a line.
      In football, nothing is as irrelevant as yesterday’s success.
However, there is one event that might turn things around: Magdeburg must beat Union Berlin in their next home game – and comprehensively so. A display of great and successful attacking football is need, and it must be followed up with an equally good performance at the away game in Essen. But I do not believe this is going to happen, sadly.

Lineups
FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt: Maczkowiak – Hauswald, Nowak, Holst, Kohlmann – Wolf (79′ Schubert), Cinaz, Stenzel (82′ Peßolat), Brückner – Bunjaku, Jabiri (88′ Ivanov)

1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Grundmann, Prest, Wejsfelt – F.Müller (79′ Probst), Habryka (65′ Tornieporth), A.Müller, Gerster, Neumann – Lindemann, Jarakovic (46′ von der Weth)

Score summary
27′ Grundmann 0-1
45′ Cinaz 1-1
61′ Wolf 2-1
72′ Wolf 3-1
75′ Bunjaku (pen) 4-1

Attendance
8,108

What the…? That’s all you can do?

I’m lagging a bit in updating, anywy, here goes.

On Saturday, FC Magdeburg played SV Babelsberg 03. Freshly promotoed, Babelsberg had been struggling since the start of the season and have now changed their manager, new at the helm is Dietmar Demuth. He once asked his players (when at FC St. Pauli) to wear down the opposition by scoring constantly. That’s not the tactic he’s using at Babelsberg though. The guest were playing defensively during the entire first half, but as Magdeburg were obviously trying to repeat their Braunschweig performance in terms of attacking play, Babelsberg weren’t really threatened, except for Eric Agyemang’s attempt that went low at the goalie.
In the half-time break, Demuth had obviously told his players that he wanted more than just a draw, and so Babelsberg were becoming more audacious by the minute, culminating in their taking the lead at the 62nd, when Biran scored off a counter-attack. Under a lot of booing and jeering Magdeburg attempted to rectify the situation, but there was not much to be gained from their usual imprecise and hectic passing. However, in the 76th Jarakovic played a great pass at Lindemann who was fouled inside the box. Jarakovic stepped up to the penalty and converted it into the equaliser. In the remaining 15 minutes, Magdeburg pushed to take the lead, but their attempts can once more only be described as hapless… The match ended in a disappointing 1-all draw, giving more force to those who would sack Dirk Heyne, Magdeburg’s manager.

Lineups
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Grundmann, Prest, Wejsfelt (67′ von der Weth) – Gerster, A. Müller, Neumann, F. Müller, Lindemann – Agyemang (67′ Kullmann), Jarakovic

SV Babelsberg 03: Busch – Jonelat, Neumann (46′ Hartwig), Rudolph – Mauersberger, Moritz, Lukac, Zenk, Laars – Biran (76′ Stiefel), Frahn (88′ Ben-Hatira)

Score Summary
62′ Biran 0-1
76′ Jarakovic (pen) 1-1

Attendance
7,621

On Halloween, or rather Reformation Day, Magdeburg’s U23 had to play their Lotto-Pokal (formerly known as FSA-Cup) match. In the round of the last 16 teams they were once again facing Germania Halberstadt in a reprise of last year’s semi-final. This time however, Halberstadt won the match 2-1. It has become eviden in these 90 minutes that not only the FC Magdeburg first team, but also the U23 has a problem with build-up play, and the basics of the game, passing and positioning.
Halberstadt took the lead within 10 minutes, but just another minute later was reduced to ten men, as the referee sent off Halberstadt’s Hosenthien. He had attempted to kick a Magdeburg player after said player had committed a foul on Hosenthien. The red card may have been a bit harsh, but it’s the rules of the game. But even with a man more on the pitch Magdeburg was not able to put much pressure on Halberstadt and it took until the 52nd for the U23 to equalise, when Kukulies headed in a beautiful cross at the far post. Haberstadt was not finished off yet though, and in the 70th minute took the lead again when Magdeburg’s goalie Ronneburg went out of his goal too early and missed the ball with his challenge. Even if the ball had not gone in, it’s pretty likely there would have been a penalty, as the tackle wasn’t entirely fair.
With 8 minutes left on the clock the referee made another controversial decision, sending off Magdeburg’s Peter Otte after a foul that at most would have deserved a yellow card. In the end, Halberstadt deserved to win as they were the better team overall.

Lineups
1. FC Magdeburg U23: Ronneburg – Otte, Loth (28′ Zander), Jahnel (76′ Gebauer) – Probst, Friebertshäuser, Schulz (72′ Windelband), Kauffmann – Deumelandt – Kullmann, Kukulies

VfB Germania Halberstadt: Kischel – Sommermeyer, Gottwald, Saalbach, Pölzing – Kopp, Hosenthien – Binsker (75′ Reitzig), Gerlach (83′ Kaczur), Stefke – Banser (88′ Luck)

Score summary
10′ Binsker 0-1
52′ Kukulies 1-1
70′ Kopp

Attendance
600 (only those counted who paid seperately, 1. FC Magdeburg season ticket holders have free admission to all U23, U19 and U17 matches)