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.