The final straw

Today, 1. FC Magdeburg, placed dangerously close to the relegation zone, faced league leaders Chemnitzer FC in the MDCC-Arena in Magdeburg. The game began with two shocks for the hosts. After Wolf almost scored in the opening minute, Chemnitz did better and took the lead after a bit of sleepiness in the home side defense. A few minutes later, right-back Rainer Müller limped off with what looked like an ankle injury.
Magdeburg were in shock, and if Eren Sen hadn’t headed a corner off the line, Chemnitz might have decided the game after just seven minutes. The way it was, Magdeburg were allowed to suffer a bit longer, until former Magdeburg forward Dobrý made it 2-0 after a horrendous pass to the opposition from Magdeburg’s Friebertshäuser. The game was lost then and there, considering both sides‘ quality, but Verkic offered some hope when he scored of a Wijks cross ten minutes before the break. Now came the moment of glory for the referee – who looked generally too lenient, with only two bookings in the entire match, despite plenty of opportunities to caution Chemnitz players for tactical fouls and the like – Verkic headed a long ball on to Wolf who scored the equalizer only to have it turned down for a Verkic foul that never was.

Magdeburg began the second half with new confidence, and put the pressure on Chemnitz. Early on, Wolf scored again, but this time Verkic was adjudged to have interfered with the goalkeeper in the six-yard box. Unjustly, in my humble opinion. As the match continued, Chemnitz were given more and more room by Magdeburg’s desire to equalize – and being the top team they are, they capitalized on the space they were given.
In the end, Magdeburg will feel harshly done by the 1-6 scoreline, the biggest home defeat in the club’s history (unless 0-5 seems worse), and might turn to the referee for a scapegoat, but in reality, a Chemnitz win accurately reflects the reality on the pitch.

The real question to be asked, however, is not if the team are unable to compete in the Regionalliga, or if manager Ruud Kaiser is unable to create a winning team. The question is the same that I have laid out in this blog time and time again: How much longer will the inept leadership of Volker Rehboldt and his cronies be allowed to lead the club down the road to disaster. As a Chemnitz supporter rightly observed in his match preview, Magdeburg have turned from a contender for promotion to the Second Bundesliga to a fourth division side with no hope of promotion at all. And all this within four years.
The problem, of course, is not limited to the board with its chairman Volker Rehboldt, but extends to the supervisory board, with its chairman Dr. Rüdiger Koch. Koch, responsible for sports and culture in the city of Magdeburg, is head of a group of people who are charged with overseeing the performance and actions of the club’s board – and to prevent the board from harming the club.
In the past years, the actions of the board have led to the club missing all season targets, losing the advantage of a 10,000+ spectator average, and to the club having to reduce its budget year after year. All these factors apparently do not constitute acts that would bring the club into danger, as the supervisory board has repeatedly proven by its inaction – and, in the last winter break, a 6-0 vote of confidence for Rehboldt’s board. This year, however, the club face the very real threat of relegation (what with three points between Magdeburg and the first relegation spot), so maybe now the club is in danger?

I’m not claiming everything will get better with a new chairman and a new board. But with a new chairman there is still the possibility that he is not some inept person. Rehboldt has proven that he is incapable of leading the club to a better future time and again. It is time for someone in the supervisory board to grow some balls and stop Rehboldt before it’s too late, before the club slip into division five and oblivion.