And we’re off again…

Season preparation has restarted on Friday. After last year’s disapointment with a 4th place finish, the club has had to cut the budget by about 250,000 Euros and has opted to let some players go, the most prominent of which are the team captain, Daniel Rosin, and the second-best goal scorer, Najeh Braham. As both still have valid contracts, however, the club can only hope they find a new home. Until then, signing new players is a tentative process.

In all six players were let go or told to go: Defenders Wejsfelt (contract ended), Rosin and Dragusha (contract ended), forwards Reimann (to Red Bull Rasenballsport Leipzig) and Braham (currently at trial with FC Erzgebirge Aue) and goalkeeper Geisthardt. Only Rosin and Braham currently remain on the club’s payroll.
Unitl now three new players were signed: Defenders Gaebler (formerly at SV Wilhelmshaven) and Littmann (VfB Oldenburg) and attacker Denis Wolf (Rot-Weiß Erfurt). In addition several U19 players join the squad for the season preparation, but they will probably be used in the reserve team more often than in the senior squad.
Magdeburg are still looking for another forward—at least one is being tested—and the eternal quest for an attacking central midfielder keeps going on as well. Additionally, there are rumors that former FCM defender/defensive midfielder Friebertshäuser might return from Reutlingen, but no indication as to the validity of such rumors exists.

On the weekend, Magdeburg played in two test matches, before real training starts today. In Altenweddingen, the club beat an eighth-tier side 8-0 in a (surprise!) one-sided match. On Sunday the opposition were seventh-tier club Barleben, just beyond Magdeburg’s city limits. In front of about 1,300 spectators, Magdeburg brought home a 7-0 victory. Two different teams were used, manager Baumgart opting for the all-out change at half-time.
The line-up for the first half: Flückinger – Bankert, Prest, Littmann, Brendel – Wolf, Instenberg, Zander, Racanel – N‘Dombasi, Siga
The line-up for the second half: Tischer – Probst, Gaebler, Gewelke, Neumann – Watzka, Gerwien, Bauer, Georgi – Verkic, Vujanovic
Goals: 0-1 Prest (32′), 0-2 Wolf (41′), 0-3, 0-4 Gerwien (47′, 52′), 0-5 Vujanovic (64′), 0-6 Gerwien (71′), 0-7 Verkic (89′) (Links to goal videos, courtesy of fcm-live.de)
The second half team showed the better performance, but of course the opposition had tired by then, so this shouldn’t be over-emphasized.

Player ratings (Shirt number in brackets)
Tischer (1), Flückinger (39): Especially Tischer was hardly challenged, Flückinger with some good saves off long balls and crosses (his command of the box seems better than that of our so-called number one), both of them look like they know how to treat the ball with their feet as well, even though Flückinger had more scenes in that category as well, because Tischer only had somewhat tired opposition in the second half.

Bankert (2): Strong in the defense, occasionally too far up the front for my taste and thus was missed at the back. The passing game was abysmal today though, with instinctive sureness Bankert’s passes hit every opponent that placed himself between Bankert and the target of his passing.

Prest (3): Well, it’s Prest, what can yu say? He’s slow and his positioning is not always the best, especially when the opposition comes charging at him. Not a good performance, despite his goal.

Littmann (4): Quite impressive, seems to have good vision, also gave instructions to the midfielders. Couldn’t hear if Prest did the same thing, as he was further away, but I suspect he did not. Looks to be a new hierarchy in defense. Hopefully.

Gaebler (6): Decent performance with some great long passes. Started as centerback, later switched with Bauer to take the position of defensive midfielder. No qualms with his defending at all.

Wolf (7): Could play out his speed advantage on the wing several times, suffered a bit from Bankert’s passing issues. Good positioning on his goal.

Racanel (8): Tried to breathe life into the left wing and was occasionally successful, but sometimes too complicated in his attemps. Altogether hard-running as he was in the last matches of the past season.

Verkic (9): Did not impress me much, hardly any highlights in his play, looked like a foreign body too often. No need to sign him, even though that is a tough judgement after seeing just one match.

Vujanovic (10): Quite active, no signs of inhibition by the captain’s armband, tried a lot of short passing and one-twos with his teammates, as was generally the case in the second half—ironically, by then the wind had largely died down.

Siga (11): Dedicated as usual, a lot of playing with Wolf. Needs to learn how to go past an opposing player more often and either learn to spot teammates or try to finish earlier. As it is now he loses the ball too often, albeit as late as in the opposition’s box.

Instenberg (13): Had the ball quite often, tried to initiate good attacks, but got bogged down too often. He’s still young, so there’s time for improvement.

Gewelke (15): Played centerback with no major difficulties, but is occasionally too static when the opposition comes charging. Then he is easy to predict nd easily outplayed. Same issue as Prest has, but Gewelke should be able to still learn that.

Watzka (16): Good game, often prevailed in the one-on-one. Good assist on Gerwien’s third goal.

Probst (17): A quiet game, profited from playing against tired opponents in the second half.

Brendel (18): Played left defender, seemed a bit inhibited. With a bit more calmness he’d be able to form an interesting left wing together with Racanel.

Neumann (19): Lacks match practice, it seems. Played left defender behind Georgi, then moved to left midfield when Georgi suffered what looked like pulled muscle in his thigh. Once or twice went all the way to the goal line and crossed decently. More of that please.

Bauer (20): Began as DM, then switched with Gaebler to play centerback. Always ready to receive a pass in midfield, sound in the one-on-ones, started some decent attacks. Calm as usual in defense.

Georgi (23): Started in midfield on the left wing, won several one-on-ones through his speed. Injured himself, either a cramp or a pulled muscle in the thigh, then switched to LB and was usually faster than the opposition here as well.

Zander (24): So-so. Too often loses the ball immediately after winning it. Too far away from the opposition. No such performances in the league please.
N’Dombasi (25): I wouldn’t ever have believed that this guy comes back and plays for our senior team again. His performance today was abysmal, showing why this is so incredible. Go with God, but get thee gone

Gerwien (26): Surprised most onlookers—and his teammates—with his three goals. Especially the long distance shot was brilliant, a feat the team attemps far too seldom.

Generally speaking, the team were practising things that won’t do them much good in the league. Especially the strong pressing game that was set up in the second half won’t be useful against most of our league opposition who retreat and usually play more along the lines of a 9-0-1 system than anything else. In the first half, long balls were way too frequent, considering how windy it was, a quck low passing game would have been a much better choice.

Magdeburg still cannot win the second ball after set pieces. The issue here is that except for the two players providing cover at the half-way line and the kick taker, all ther players usually are in the opposition’s box, and thus make it easy for the defense to lear the ball. This should be addressed until the season start against Energie Cottbus in the DFB-Pokal.

I was positively impressed by the two players who joined from the U19, Instenberg and Gerwien, neither of which is a Messiah who could consistently help us in the league. This means that the club absolutely has to sign a new midfielder with some creativity. The same goes for the attack: Test player Verkic does not seem fit to play tier 4 football. The two new defenders look good, with Littmann impressing me more than Gaebler. Altogether, the performance was satisfactory, considering that training only restarted on Friday.

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