Yesterday, Magdeburg won their first league match of the sesaon, beating Lübeck 2-0. In a repeat of last year’s inaugural fixture, both teams were nervous and not able to consistently play a decent attacking game over 90 minutes. Magdeburg’s defense held tight, allowing only two real opportunities for Lübeck, none of which was converted. In contrast, Magdeburg scored two out of their three opportunities, both by Denis Wolf. This result saw Magdeburg top the table (shared with Eintracht Braunschweig II, but let’s ignore that, shall we?). Pity there’s no way to keep that position for the remainder of the season.
League favorites RB Leipzig only drew Türkiyemspor in their first game, but considering that they bought last season’s top scorer Daniel Frahn for 250,000 Euros and Rot-Weiß Erfurt’s talent Kammlott for 800,000, one can imagine what they’ll do if things look dull in their promotion campaign…
In other news, the immensely competent fellows at Saxony-Anhalt’s regional football association (FSA) still have not managed to stage the cup finals of the Under-19 and Under-17 teams of the 2009-10 season. Of course, both matches involve Magdeburg and arch rivals Hallescher FC. Both matches were to be played in Halle last Saturday, but had to be cancelled due to security concerns. As the FSA has to register the winners for the Under-19 DFB-Pokal and the Under-17 NOFV-Pokal, respectively, by mid-August, they are actually considering to draw lots to determine the winner.
It is at that point that one needs to examine exactly who is culpable for the situation. Originally, both final matches had been scheduled for March. The harsh winter prevented this, because semifinals had not been played. In its infinite wisdom, the FSA re-scheduled for the first weekend after the end of the Under-19 and Under-17 Regionalliga seasons – and decided to hold both finals in Magdeburg. What the FSA officials had not considered was the very real possibility that Magdeburg might qualify for the promotion play-offs which were to be played on said weekend and the one immediately after it.
So again, the match was rescheduled, this time a date after the play-offs was to be chosen – it was then that officials of the Hallescher FC decided that they were unwilling to let their teams train for three weeks without any chance of playing with only the cup finals to aim for. In essence, no date could be fixed, because Halle had „sent their players on holiday“. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the club would send their youth players – most or all of which still have to attend school – on holiday, with a competitive match still looming.
The FSA decided to hold the matches at the start of the new season (around now then), but due to security concerns, the matches would have had to be played in Magdeburg’s Germer-Stadion, as the usual locations (training pitches at MDCC-Arena which will be used for the Under-19 Bundesliga as well) were deemed unsafe. The Germer-Stadion has received a pitch repair and is verboten until 21 August – well after the date the FSA has to register the winners with DFB and NOFV. Therefore the matches were moved to Halle’s Sandanger training area which is as safe as the training pitches at MDCC-Arena. Two days before the matches, they were cancelled – and I doubt anyone in Magdeburg was really surprised.
Halle has proposed what they deem a compromise: Teams will be registered based on their league performance last season. The idiocy of determining a cup winner via the league outcome aside, the agenda is obvious: Halle’s Under-19 has competed in a higher tier than Magdeburg’s and will thus play the prestigious DFB-Pokal (which Magdeburg won in 1999), while Magdeburg’s Under-17, clearly better than Halle’s, will compete in the NOFV-Pokal, a competition I doubt anyone knew existed before this farce. I don’t quite see how that is a compromise, and I most of all don’t see how Halle-based newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung can call that „the only fair solution“. Ah well. I feel one could argue that Halle’s teams were no-shows and that the club has forfeited both titles. But I doubt that the FSA will see it that way…
It looks like lots will be drawn and I can only suggest to whoever draws the short straw and loses the Landespokal „final“ they sue the FSA for lost profits (whatever those may be) – and maybe elect someone a tad more competent…or just less incompetent, times being what they are.