1. FC Magdeburg vs Stark

This is the comment that appeared on the most important fan site after Magdeburg’s match against SV Babelsberg 03 on Saturday, refereed by controversial FIFA referee Wolfgang Stark. As Magdeburg begin 2009 with a tough schedule, playing the other top 4 teams in the first three matches, tensions were high at Stadion Magdeburg.

After kickoff on Saturday, Magdeburg immediately seized control of the game, dominating Babelsberg at will, and subsequently scored the lead off a Watzka freekick with just 8 minutes gone. However, Stark and his linesmen judged the goal to be offside – a blatant error, as it was easy to see that the ball had been deflected by Babelsberg’s N’Diaye. After making the call, Stark went over to his assistant, but upheld his decision. Both men had an excellent, unobstructed view on the action. Magdeburg kept up the pressure, but could not score, despite great opportunities. Vujanovic’s freekick only hit the post and Watzka’s direct volley went right onto Babelsberg’s keeper. Thus, with assistance from the referee, Babelsberg and Magdeburg went into the dressing rooms with no goals between them.

Nothing changed in the second half, Magdeburgcontinuing their attacks and eventually scored a goal that not even the referee could take away, when Brendel hammered the ball home with a beautiful dropkick from 20 yards out. After the goal, Babelsberg changed their tactics, attacking relentlessly – and here Magdeburg made the mistake to ease their pressure. They were now pushed back to their own box more and more often, and everyone could feel the equalizer coming. Then new signing Bauer mistimed a pass to Brendel in midfield and left Magdeburg wide open to a counter-attack. Captain Daniel Rosin was able to stop the Babelsberg attack, but at the expense of a somewhat dubious penalty. Rosin slid into the attacker, and while not playing the ball, he also did not significantly touch the attacking player who went down nonetheless. Stark waved away the protests, but it was again N’Diaye who would be in the center of things. Before the kick had been taken, N’Diaye had already entered the box, causing Stark to have the penalty retaken – and this time Beer saved the kick.
Whoever had hoped that this would have been warning enough for the Magdeburg players not to let Babelsberg anywhere near the penalty area was soon diappointed however. Babelsberg’s attacks continued unabated and after a throw-in, when the ball had already been cleared out of the box, Stark’s whistle was heard again. With horror the stadium realized that he had given another penalty. The culprit had been Magdeburg’s Racanel, or so Stark said. Racanel had cleared the ball, but a Babelsberg player managed to jump into the way of his leg and be caught. Racanel and his teammates could not believe this decision, but it stood and Babelsberg equalised.
Magdeburg’s final attacking moves led to nothing but another Vujanovic shot bouncing off the post.

Stark would not take questions from reporters after the match, because he „has to get his plane“. Thank you.

The other weekend results only added to the misery, with Kiel beating Cottbus, after being a goal down until the 86th minute and Halle winning in Wilhelmshaven. Next week, Magdeburg travel to their arch rivals, doubtlessly hoping to be the first team to beat them in this season.

Line-ups:
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Bankert, Wejsfelt, Rosin, Probst (46′ Zander) – Brendel (78′ Matthias), Bauer, Racanel, Watzka – Vujanovic, Braham
SV Babelsberg 03: Unger – Surma (52. Oumari), Weidlich, Moritz, Müller (60. Lange), Frahn, Prochnow, Ergirdi (60. Hartwig), Civa, N’Diaye, Laars

Scoring summary:
51′ Brendel 1-0
67′ Beer saves Moritz‘ penalty
82′ Frahn 1-1

Attendance:
12,042

Match video can be found at the mdr site.

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