Aaaand we’re off

Last Saturday, the waiting period was finally over. More than two months after missing out on qualifying for the new 3rd Liga, 1. FC Magdeburg had their first competitive game. The mission for this season couldn’t be simpler: Come in first and win promotion. In order to achieve that, Paul Linz has brought in 11 new players, a number of whom have already played under him when he was manager of Eintracht Trier. Magdeburg have a completely new midfield, with Catalin Racanel, Mehmet Dragusha, Daniel Rosin and Maximilian Watzka having competed in Bundesliga 2. Essentially, everyone got the feeling that – Florian Müller aside – this new team was even better than the one Magdeburg had last season, despite now playing one tier lower.
Magdeburg’s first opposition were the reserve team of Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96. The reserves had had a rather good preseason, beating VfB Lübeck and Hessen Kassel and looking generally lively. In front of roughly 4,000 spectators in Hannover’s world cup venue AWD-arena, however, they were rather harmless. Magdeburg tried to get into the game by playing good combinations on both flanks, but didn’t manage to get a goal in, until the 38th minute, when Braham scored off a Racanel freekick. With just seconds on the clock, Braham missed an absolute sitter and the teams went into the dressing rooms with just one goal separating them.
For the second half, Hannover had lost one of their best midfielders to injury, first teamer Chavdar Yankov had to be subbed out just before half-time. The second half then saw Magdeburg controlling and dominating the game, but again the team had issues with converting their opportunities. In the 56th, however, Braham was fouled again, Racanel stepped up to the freekick – again – and scored. Magdeburg now led comfortably and didn’t do too much to increase their lead.
Overall, a deserved victory for Magdeburg in a match against an opponent whose only opportunity at scoring came after one of goalkeeper Christian Beer’s traditional mistakes. He left his goal to try and catch a corner kick, but missed. Still a decent start into the league and the first three points on the way to winning the title, hopefully.
mdr has a match report here.

Lineups:
Hannover 96 II: Jensen – Balogun, Ibelherr, Hofmann, Rausch – Hahne, Bikmaz, Herrmann, Yankov (44′ Moslehe) – Proschwitz (78′ Büchler), Ghasemi-Nobakht (78′ Lindner)
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Neumann, Bankert, Prest, Probst – Rosin (66′ Watzka) – Gewelke, Racanel, Dragusha (79′ Matthias) – Vujanovic (73′ Reimann), Braham
Scoring summary:
40′ Braham 0-1
56′ Racanel 0-2
Attendance:
4,000 (~3,700 from Magdeburg)

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