Tagarchiv 2007-08

Rebuilding

May 31, 3:15 pm: 1. FC Magdeburg are relegated from tier III. Or do not qualify for the new 3rd Liga, whichever you prefer. This means that with the exception of Reimann, all players‘ contracts will run out on June 30, as they are not valid for tier IV. The same goes for manager Paul Linz.
Captain Mario Kallnik announces his retirement. He’ll take over an as yet undefined function with the club.
June 1: The board promise the team will be rebuilt within three weeks. A team strong enough to compete for promotion from the Regionalliga Nord is needed. Linz says he’ll stay if the team is competitive.
June 3: On the last fan meeting of the season, manager Linz announces his plans for the next season. He’ll continue using a 4-4-2, but considers a diamond in midfield. Although nothing is confirmed, it is clear that Linz will stay.
June 4: At a press conference, the club announce a number of things. Linz has signed a two year contract, the goal being promotion to 3rd Liga within this time, possibly earlier. Magdeburg sign Daniel Rosin, a defender and defensive midfielder from Wacker Burghausen. The player had been on the list of players for the 3rd Liga team Paul Linz had written up, but will join the club despite the relegation to tier IV. He has received a 3-year contract. Matthias von der Weth leaves Magdeburg for Borussia Mönchengladbach’s reserves.
Also on June 4, 2nd Bundesliga side Alemannia Aachen announce that they have signed Florian Müller from 1. FC Magdeburg. The right midfielder had been one of the few bright spots for Magdeburg in the past season.
June 5: Najeh Braham signs a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2011. He says he feels good in Magdeburg and wants to help them reach the 3rd Liga.
June 6: Goalkeeper Christian Beer, defender Christian Prest and defender/midfielder Stephan Neumann sign new contracts. Beer receives a 3-year contract, Prest and Neumann signed until 2010. All three are from the club’s youth system and have played for the club since, with the exception of the 2002/03 season.
June 9: Magdeburg sign Catalin Racanel from FC Sachsen Leipzig. The Romanian-born midfielder receives a 2-year contract. 31-year-old Racanel has worked with manager Paul Linz in the 2nd Bundesliga in Trier and Ahlen. „Linz is the best manager I’ve ever had“, he says when asked for the reason he’ll spend more time in tier IV footie. Racanel has played 7 Bundesliga, 100 2nd Bundesliga and 34 Regionalliga matches.
June 10: Magdeburg announce that Mats Wejsfelt and Pit Grundmann have signed new one-year contracts. Both are defenders and play a central role in Paul Linz’s planning. Says he: „It’s important to keep last year’s defense together, as you need to be well-established in that department.
In other news, Marcel Brendel, a versatile attacking player from FC Schalke 04’s reserves joins the club. The 20-year old from Berlin has signed a two-year contract.

To be continued…

It’s over

Not only is the season at its end, but also the time 1. FC Magdeburg spends in tier III of German football. Thanks to yet another league reform the 11th place is not enough to stay up, and Magdeburg will have to play in the then-tier IV Regionalliga Nord come next season.
How could a club that finished 3rd last season play this badly, you ask? As usual the answer to that question is rather complex. One factor, and basically speaking the factor that led to this miserable result is the 3rd place from the last season. A lot of people assumed that the team achieved this rank because of its inherent qualities, and unfortunately, members of the Magdeburg board and at least in part the manager were among those people. This has led to only very inadequate players coming in, such as Eric Agyemang and Dennis Tornieporth, both of which were unable to fulfill the expectations. Also, the club was not able to compensate for the loss of forward Aleksandar Kotuljac who went to Greuter Fürth (and has established himself rather well in the 2nd Bundesliga) and even Sven Kubis was missed by some. These two issues, the overconfidence in the strength of the team and the fact that as a consequence no new players that could increase that quality (an exception is, of course, Florian Müller who had a brilliant season) were signed are the origin of all problems that the club has had in this season.
From these issues arose another. Manager Dirk Heyne was soon obviously helpless and clueless with regard to the problems that the team had, but instead of sacking him at the end of the first half of the season, the board let him stay on for the first two matches of the second half as well, maybe because they thought that after beating Wuppertal in November things would get better, but I suspect that the actual reasons are Heyne’s merits with the club (having played as goalkeeper for more than 20 years and winning promotion to Regionalliga) and the fact that Heyne’s father had died only recently. Both factors are not actual reasons not to sack a manager, in fact this decision might be what cost us the league.
The next two matches were a disaster, points-wise: Magdeburg drew Werder Bremen U23 at home and lost to Energie Cottbus U23 away. Then Heyne was gone. I wonder if a prompter reaction by the board might have changed things, but it’s no use crying over spilt milk now.
Heyne’s reign ended with a terrible record: Of the 20 matches that the club played, they won merely 6, drew another 6 and lost 8. Only 1 away match was won and the goal record was equally abysmal: 19 goals, but 24 conceded.
As a successor, Magdeburg brought in Paul Linz, and finally the board signed players that could potentially help us: Tunisian forward Najeh Braham, Christian Reimann who came with the recommendation of 48 goals in 68 matches, albeit in tier IV, and Steffen Baumgart, an experienced former Bundesliga player and allrounder. In the test matches things looked good and a confident performance in the first match after the winter break spread a careful optimism, when Magdeburg beat Hamburger SV U23 2-0. But the away game at Dresden showed the old troubles again, the team looked scared, ran scared – and they played that way too, much to the chagrin of their manager. He had been trying to instill a hunger for attacking football into them, but that was not easy, after years of playing a 3-5-2 under Dirk Heyne, which most of the time turned into a 5-3-2 or rather 5-5-0.
The next home opposition was minnows Verl and Magdeburg fulfilled their task, beating them 2-0 again. But that was that. Curiously enough, Magdeburg began to win away games, even those that were highly unlikely, such as the ones in Düsseldorf or Berlin. However, this came at a price, as it seems, because since the Verl game, Magdeburg have not been able to win at home. None of these draws and even the loss against Essen on the penultimate matchday were of such a nature that you could have blamed the team. It’s just bad luck if you hit the bar twice in one game…it just wasn’t meant to be.
After yesterdays 2-1 away win at Wuppertal, the club were relegated on goal difference, showing that the management’s and the board’s failure to correctly identify weaknesses in the team was fatal in this season. However, in the new 18-team Regionalliga Nord, Magdeburg will have to try for immediate promotion. If they do not, they run the risk of losing much of their attendance (last season had the highest average attendance since 1983/84, with 11.800 spectators per game) and also their manager. Paul Linz’s contract runs out in June as the club did not qualify for the 3rd Liga. However, he is willing to stay if he gets a competitive team. The budget for next season is rumored to be 3 million euros. One should be able to do something with that.

Regionalliga Nord will start on August 16th, a lot of time to look for and sign new, talented and good players that can help put 1. FC Magdeburg back where they belong: Into a professional league.

I must be sick

I turned down the opportunity to go to Babelsberg for today’s away game (which turned out to be a crap 0-0 draw), because I had stuff to do for university. That’s so not me…

Phew, some weeks

Last time I wrote in here, we were 6 points behind non-relegation. That was just before the away match in Lübeck on March 15. Since then, Magdeburg have not lost a single game and have picked up 11 out of 15 points.
But first things first: in Lübeck, Linz put Steffen Baumgart up front with Najeh Braham, as Christian Reimann had failed to convince Linz in training. The game itself then became a memorable one, though not in a positive way from Magdeburg’s point of view. 36 minutes into the match, Lübeck’s Hirsch was sent off with a second yellow for a foul on Baumgart inside the box – but Gerster’s penalty went to the outside of the post and then wide. Luckily, a Braham shot from outside the box surprised Lübeck’s goalie Hollerieth and Magdeburg thus took the lead. After the break, hopes were high that Magdeburg could use their numerical advantage and do something for the goal differential, but alas, it was not to be.
In the 63rd, Magdeburg were given another penalty, and this time Baumgart took the ball, but Hollerieth saved. Things got more embarrassing for Magdeburg, when Lübeck’s Hollerieth picked up an injury with 15 minutes left on the clock – and then got another player sent off. As Lübeck had already used their three substitutes, Hollerieth had to be replaced by an outfield player, but Magdeburg couldn’t find a way past him and in the end even had to fear for their three points. When the final whistle was blown, Lübeck had won a morale victory – but Magdeburg took the three points.

Lineups

    VfB Lübeck: Hollerieth – Weber (75′ Oppermann), Rump, Wehrendt, Caruso – Altin, Hirsch, Sievers, Martens (46′ Dogan/ 73′ Canale) – Kadah, Hoffmann
    1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Otte, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann (72′ Wejsfelt) – Müller (84′ Kullmann), Gerster, Habryka, Lindemann – Braham, Baumgart (78′ Reimann)

Summary

    36′ Hirsch 2nd Yellow
    37′ Gerster misses penalty
    41′ Braham 1-0
    63′ Baumgart misses penalty
    75′ Hollerieth injured
    83′ Canale 2nd Yellow

    Attendance: 3,700

The week after this memorable embarrassment, Magdeburg faced then-league leaders Rot-Weiß Oberhausen at home. The game ended in a nil-all draw, a justified result, as the teams were on par most of the time, even though Oberhausen had had the better chances. Magdeburg’s best opportunity came after a lob from Jarakovic, but unfortunately it went wide of the left post. In the end, Magdeburg were content with the point won, as they were still on par with Linz’s master plan.

Lineups

    1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Otte (46′ Jarakovic), Prest, Wejsfelt, Kallnik – Habryka (85′ Agyemang), Neumann, Zander, Müller – Baumgart, Braham
    Rot-Weiß Oberhausen: Semmler – Embers, Pappas, Schlieter, Kruse – Reichert, Terranova, D. Müller (67′ Schäper), Landers (90′ Landers) – Lüttmann (67′ Aksoy), Kaya

Summary

    Attendance: 12,562

Before the next away match at Düsseldorf, Magdeburg fans weren’t sure what to expect. Düsseldorf were placed well above Magdeburg in the table and were still hoping to gain promotion to 2nd Bundesliga. Magdeburg on the other hand still had the second-worst away record in the entire league. But when Probst slid into a Gerster free kick to take the lead, Magdeburg fans (approximately 1,400 had travelled to Düsseldorf) were getting their hopes up. But Düsseldorf dominated the game and in the 44th had the bst opportunity to equalise, when the referee pointed to the spot in a ridiculous decision. Fortuna’s Lawaree obviously felt the same and Beer could save his penalty kick quite easily. In the second half of the game, Düsseldorf tried desperately for the equaliser, but were denied again and again by Christian Beer – and in the 92nd, Jarakovic scored off a counter-attack that was beautifully executed by Florian Müller and himself, clinching the three points for Magdeburg. During the game, Magdeburg manager Linz was sent into the stands for leaving his zone, but the Düsseldorf player that tried to take Linz’s glasses off in the incident went strangely unpunished.

Lineups

    Fortuna Düsseldorf: Melka – Heeren (63′ Hergesell), Langeneke (56′ Palikuca), Krecidlo (72′ Erwig), Cakir – Anfang, Cebe, Lambertz, Caillas – Lawarée, Sahin
    1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Prest, Kallnik, Probst, Neumann – Gerster, Lindemann (46′ Wejsfelt), Habryka, Müller – Reimann (68′ Jarakovic), Braham

Summary

    8′ Probst 0-1
    41′ Lawaree misses penalty
    90′ Jarakovic 0-2

    Attendance: 12,049

Sportschau highlight video

After this unexpected victory, Magdeburg faced a difficult home game. RW Ahlen came to town, and they had the best away record – not in terms of points (3rd-best in that respect), but in terms of goals scored: Almost 2 per away game. Now Magdeburg had merely conceded one goal since Linz took over, and none of the top teams had been able to beat FCM in their own stadium. But when Ahlen took the lead after just 9 minutes – Kallnik had been nice enough to pass the ball to an Ahlen winger instead of clearing it – and doubled that lead just four minutes later off a corner, many in the stadium doubted the ability of the team to turn this around. Thankfully, Kallnik scored a spot kick after Reimann had been fouled in the box, marking the first successful penalty from a Magdeburg player since Jarakovic’s equalizer against Babelsberg in October. In the remaining time of the first half, Magdeburg began to dominate the match, but could not produce any clear-cut opportunities.
In the second half, it was once more Najeh Braham who fired in a shot from three yards out. The equalizer was met with cheers as loud as at several points in the last season, but this cheering didn’t help push the team far enough: They just couldn’t score a winning goal. In the end, manager Linz wasn’t sure whether to be happy or angry with the performance. Unfortunately, Dresden managed to turn an impending home loss against Emden into a win with just 5 minutes left on the clock, leaving Magdeburg 4 points behind that ominous line between places 10 and 11.
The game also saw wht some speculate will have been Lindemann’s last stint in the first team for a long time. After repeatedly ignoring his manager’s instructions and a dismal performance he was subbed in the 34th – not a tactical change at all.

Lineups

    1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Probst, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann – Müller, Gerster, Habryka (46′ Manai), Lindemann (34′ Baumgart) – Braham, Reimann
    Rot-Weiss Ahlen: Lenz – Busch, di Gregorio, Maul, Miletic – Thioune (63′ Wiemann), Bäumer – Großkreutz (62′ Stahlberg), Heithoelter, Chitsulo (76′ Reus) – Toborg

Summary

    9′ Toborg 0-1
    13′ Di Gregorio 0-2
    17′ Kallnik 1-2 (penalty)
    56′ Braham 2-2

    Attendance: 10,800

Sportschau highlights video

Yesterday, Magdeburg were involved in the first of two so-called six-point-matches. The team faced Borussia Dortmund’s reserves at Stadion Rote Erde. Dortmund were on #10 in the table, 6 points ahead of Magdeburg, but Magdeburg still have a game in hand. In a tight game, Christian Reimann scored the winning goal with a beautiful volley after Dortmund had attempted to clear a Gerster corner. The rest of the game was mainly Dortmund attacking furiously and Magdeburg defending, certainly not what Linz would have liked to see – and almost with a bad ending for Magdeburg, when Beer miscalculated a corner and a Dortmund player headed home, almost, that is, as Neumann was able to clear the ball.
Magdeburg now are three points behind the non-relegation zone and play Kickers Emden next Friday – wonder what the welcome for Dennis Tornieporth will be like. Another thing to watch out for is whether VfB Lübeck can finish the season: Last week the club went into receivership and if they cannot finish the season, their matches will be annulled, meaning that FC Magdeburg will lose their 6 points and would move further down in the table.

Lineups

    Borussia Dortmund II: Höttecke – Brzenska, Hillenbrand (76′ Oscislawski), Njambe, Hünemeier – Großkreutz (61′ Öztekin), Omerbegovic, Schmelzer, Eggert (72′ Boztepe) – Nöthe, Senesie
    1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Probst, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann – Baumgart (61′ Manai), F. Müller (61′ Kullmann), Wejsfelt, Gerster – Reimann (89′ Zander), Braham

Summary

    29′ Reimann 0-1

    Attendance: 1,200

Quick update

As I’m somewhat busy with university stuff right now, just a quick update. After three matches Magdeburg’s situation remains unchanged, they are still 6 points behind non-relegation. This weekend Magdeburg travel to Lübeck, facing the only tier III team in Germany that did not apply for a tier III license for next season. Winning is obligatory, again, as Paul Linz‘ plan for non-relegation focuses on getting an average of 2 points per game.

Expect longer updates and maybe some nostalgic moments in April.

A good start is not a great start

And actually, it is not a start at all. If it is anything start-ish, it is a restart when the German leagues slowly get back into action after the winterbreak. The winterbreak is a sensible thing…bah, who am I kidding? This winterbreak had one great advantage for FC Magdeburg: New manager Paul Linz had 6 weeks of practice with his new team, and winter signings had some time to gel with their new team mates as well.
Today was the big day of the first league match, and the opponent was Hamburger SV, well, their U23 team anyway.
Magdeburg began with a new, untried back four, at least with regard to the right defender – Baumgart was moved back, Müller (there’s only one Müller now) took his place as right midfielder. The centerbacks were a reason to worry to all who assumed HSV would play quick attacking football: Kallnik and Prest started, neither of which with much reputation for fast running. Along with new signing Baumgart, the other two new players started as well, Braham and Reimann played up front in Linz’s 4-4-2.
Magdeburg got off to a good start, dominating the game for the first ten minutes, and almost took the lead when a Hamburg defender tried very hard to put ball in his own net. Alas, his goalkeeper had other plans…
After about twenty minutes HSV finally with some ideas of their own, none of which was real dangerous. One thing that is memorable about today’s match is the amount of times the ball was put into touch because of some real or imagined injury to a HSV player. I wonder what that was about. Didn’t exactly help the game. Football-wise, Magdeburg took the lead when Braham hammered home a Gerster freekick, with a beautiful volley into the far corner. For the first game under new management, this wasn’t too bad, Magdeburg went into the halftime break one goal up. At the beginning of the second half, however, the players seemed to have forgotten a valuable lesson Linz tries to teach them: Just because you’re one up doesn’t mean you can stop playing. For the first 15 minutes of the second half, Magdeburg were dominated by HSV, but no serious danger was emanating from their attacks. Their dominance ended, however, when midfielder Keita was sent off for violent conduct in the 62nd. It still took Magdeburg until the 71st to put away another goal (Baumgart off a Gerster corner), but there really wasn’t any danger of a Hamburg equaliser.
Why then is it not a grea start? Magdeburg have to win a lot of their games, and there were quite a few things wrong with today’s performance. On the left, Lindemann was ineffectual, often lacking vision and sometimes he seemed to lack skill too. Müller on the right didn’t get enough support from the rest of the team, after a great start to the match, his teammates had apparently all but forgotten about him. In defense, Kallnik and Prest, and even Wejsfelt made several mistakes that went unpunished, but are still a reason to worry. Most worrying of all things is the inexplicable desire to sit back and watch that the team displayed jus after the break. These phases are simply unaffordable against better opposition, like next week’s, Dynamo Dresden, and were the reason of much of Paul Linz’s frustration. All in all, Magdeburg are now 4 points behind a non-relegation spot, that’s two less than before the game, so there’s no reason to fret, really.

mdr has a video report of the game here (WMV).

Lineups
FCM: Beer – Baumgart, Prest, Kallnik, Neumann – Gerster (78. Habryka), Zander, Müller, Lindemann (46. Wejsfelt)- Reimann (73. Kullmann), Braham

Hamburger SV II : Höcker – Schmidt, Gouhari, Gorka, Franz – Huber, Keita, Kunert, Wimmer (24. Torun) – Chrisantus, Cannizzaro

Score summary
44′ Braham 1-0
62′ Keita (HSV) sent off
71′ Baumgart 2-0

Attendance
9,436

We can turn things round

Today, for the first time since December, FC Magdeburg’s first team was involved in a competitive match. Since that 1-2 defeat in Cottbus, a number of things have changed in the club.
First of all, a new manager was put in charge, Paul Linz of Trier fame. Three new players were brought in, two forwards and one very experienced allrounder who can play almost everything – Christian Reimann, Najeh Braham (2004 African Cup of Nations winner) and Steffen Baumgart, respectively.
Then, Paul Linz changed the system – instead of Dirk Heyne’s favored 3-5-2, Magdeburg now play 4-4-2. Despite the problems that such a change usually brings, Magdeburg conceded only twice in their preparation matches, one goal each against Sachsen Leipzig and Schalke 04. Also, Magdeburg started to score themselves, losing but one of the preparation matches.

Thus, there was an overall optimism that the team would perform sufficiently well to beat tier IV side Halberstadt in the FSA-Cup today. In addition to that optimism came the knowledge that in the past years, Halberstadt had never ever scored against Magdeburg in a competitive match.
Until today: After a terrible start to the game, Magdeburg’s goalie Unger was stumped in the 12th minute, when Halberstadt’s Gottwaldt put the ball away after a corner kick. However, Magdeburg quickly retaliated and it was new forward Najeh Braham who headed in a Gerster freekick ten minutes later. Magdeburg were still unable to control the game, and especially the right side of the back four were a constant source of trouble, with right defender Friebertshäuser being constantly outpaced by his opponents and…then there was Kallnik. Kallnik is playing the same way he has played since his 30th birthday – slow, no vision, no positioning. When Friebertshäuser had to resort to yet another foul near the box, there was a general feeling of danger in the air, and justifiedly so. Again Gottwald scored and Magdeburg went into the halftime one goal down.

Shortly after the break – and after another Kallnik-caused breakaway when Magdeburg’s Unger had barely won the 1-on-1 – Linz finally saw fit to replace him. He subbed in Zander and Florian Müller for Kallnik and a not very efficient Baumgart, respectively. With this substitution, there were a number of position changes. Left defender Wejsfelt moved to the center, left midfielder Neumann took over as left defender. Lindemann, whose turn as a classic 10 turned out to be an utter disaster, moved to the left, allowing Zander to take over as playmaker. This served to calm the game, as Zander at least tried to pass the ball quickly, Magdeburg were slowly gaining a foothold over Germania Halberstadt. The hosts had resorted to defending their lead, and this they didn’t do too badly. When the equaliser still wouldn’t come, Linz changed formation – he substituted Agyemang for Friebertshäuser (who had gotten better after Kallnik was gone…) and switched to a 3-4-3. That eventually tipped the scales in Magdeburg’s favor, and it was once more Braham who equalised once more with just 7 minutes to go. Agyemang missed the chance to decide the game in regular time, and so extra time was required, much to the chagrin of Magdeburg’s chairman who had to cut short his afternoon plans. In extra time, Halberstadt started to push a little more again, realizing they probably wouldn’t survive thirty minutes without conceding. But it did them little good, as it was Braham’s day today: Just one minute into the second half of extra time, Braham headed home once more, deciding the game in Magdeburg’s favor.

What can be learned? First of all, we have forwards. We do indeed, and they (well, one of ‚em) score, too. Second, if you have to play Prest as a central defender because he’s the tallest, you should put a quick central defender next to him, not an aging 32year-old whose only merit right now is the captaincy. Kallnik has no place in the back four, he’s too slow, he doesn’t position well and he lacks vision. Third, Paul Linz makes changes when he sees something wrong. That’s good. The best part of it being that his changes actually work.

In other news, our U23 won a postponed match yesterday, beating Hallescher FC U23 4-3 eventually. They had led by a 3-0 margin at half-time but through individual errors allowed Halle to equalise, despite their being a man down shortly after the break. Unfortunately, some individuals in the guest area thought the 3-3 equaliser was the signal to toss rockets and smoke-bombs onto the pitch. The police removed Halle’s supporters and afterwards Deumelandt scored the winner.

Our U19, struggling as the team is in the U19-Bundesliga, managed to grab a point at Hertha BSC U19, finishing the game 2-2 despite being 0-2 down at half-time. Here’s hoping that will not be the last points for them.