A good start is not a great start

And actually, it is not a start at all. If it is anything start-ish, it is a restart when the German leagues slowly get back into action after the winterbreak. The winterbreak is a sensible thing…bah, who am I kidding? This winterbreak had one great advantage for FC Magdeburg: New manager Paul Linz had 6 weeks of practice with his new team, and winter signings had some time to gel with their new team mates as well.
Today was the big day of the first league match, and the opponent was Hamburger SV, well, their U23 team anyway.
Magdeburg began with a new, untried back four, at least with regard to the right defender – Baumgart was moved back, Müller (there’s only one Müller now) took his place as right midfielder. The centerbacks were a reason to worry to all who assumed HSV would play quick attacking football: Kallnik and Prest started, neither of which with much reputation for fast running. Along with new signing Baumgart, the other two new players started as well, Braham and Reimann played up front in Linz’s 4-4-2.
Magdeburg got off to a good start, dominating the game for the first ten minutes, and almost took the lead when a Hamburg defender tried very hard to put ball in his own net. Alas, his goalkeeper had other plans…
After about twenty minutes HSV finally with some ideas of their own, none of which was real dangerous. One thing that is memorable about today’s match is the amount of times the ball was put into touch because of some real or imagined injury to a HSV player. I wonder what that was about. Didn’t exactly help the game. Football-wise, Magdeburg took the lead when Braham hammered home a Gerster freekick, with a beautiful volley into the far corner. For the first game under new management, this wasn’t too bad, Magdeburg went into the halftime break one goal up. At the beginning of the second half, however, the players seemed to have forgotten a valuable lesson Linz tries to teach them: Just because you’re one up doesn’t mean you can stop playing. For the first 15 minutes of the second half, Magdeburg were dominated by HSV, but no serious danger was emanating from their attacks. Their dominance ended, however, when midfielder Keita was sent off for violent conduct in the 62nd. It still took Magdeburg until the 71st to put away another goal (Baumgart off a Gerster corner), but there really wasn’t any danger of a Hamburg equaliser.
Why then is it not a grea start? Magdeburg have to win a lot of their games, and there were quite a few things wrong with today’s performance. On the left, Lindemann was ineffectual, often lacking vision and sometimes he seemed to lack skill too. Müller on the right didn’t get enough support from the rest of the team, after a great start to the match, his teammates had apparently all but forgotten about him. In defense, Kallnik and Prest, and even Wejsfelt made several mistakes that went unpunished, but are still a reason to worry. Most worrying of all things is the inexplicable desire to sit back and watch that the team displayed jus after the break. These phases are simply unaffordable against better opposition, like next week’s, Dynamo Dresden, and were the reason of much of Paul Linz’s frustration. All in all, Magdeburg are now 4 points behind a non-relegation spot, that’s two less than before the game, so there’s no reason to fret, really.

mdr has a video report of the game here (WMV).

Lineups
FCM: Beer – Baumgart, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann – Gerster (78. Habryka), Zander, Müller, Lindemann (46. Wejsfelt)- Reimann (73. Kullmann), Braham

Hamburger SV II : Höcker – Schmidt, Gouhari, Gorka, Franz – Huber, Keita, Kunert, Wimmer (24. Torun) – Chrisantus, Cannizzaro

Score summary
44′ Braham 1-0
62′ Keita (HSV) sent off
71′ Baumgart 2-0

Attendance
9,436

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