Since I last wrote, after match day 3, 1. FC Magdeburg have come through quite a development. New transfer Wolf is out until January, and the club signed Lars Fuchs from Jena as his replacement. This has turned out to be a good decision, as Fuchs has already scored 5 goals in the seven matches he has played in. As for the league position, Magdeburg have improved since day 3 when they were on 14. They are now on 8, but still with a 5 point deficit to the top spot, held by VfL Wolfsburg’s reserve team.
Most importantly, however, manager Baumgart changed his tactics. Instead of a defensive 4-2-3-1, Magdeburg now play a 4-1-3-2 that gives them more options in attack and is largely responsible for the 19 goals the team has scored so far. Unfortunately this change has also introduced some weakness in defense, so Magdeburg have conceded 13 goals so far.
The matches so far:
At home against Hansa Rostock II – 2–2
Magdeburg go one down after 38 minutes, then celebrate a late comeback with goals from Vujanovic and Watzka, only to concede a late equalizer off a free kick, after goalie Tischer and defender Prest miss the ball. The match is a glimmer of hope anyway after the abysmal performance against Türkiyemspor in the week before.
Away at VFC Plauen – 4–1
Magdeburg go one down again, after only 4 minutes, but this time the team manage a complete turnaround. By half-time the score is 3–1 to Magdeburg, another Vujanovic goal makes it 4–1 for the final whistle.
Home against SV Wilhelmshaven – 5–2
After this demonstration of strength, Magdeburg face Wilhelmshaven. They are third from the bottom and it only takes seconds for Magdeburg to take the lead. But within minutes Wilhelmshaven equalize and it looks like the match would turn into a nailbiter. Watzka scores to make it 2–1 at half-time, and in the second half Magdeburg get their act together, extending their lead to 4–1 before a defensive slip-up gives the guests their second goal. Marko Verkic scores in the final minute to make it a clear-cut 5–2.
Away at Babelsberg 03 – 2–3
In the following away match Magdeburg are punished for their defensive errors. Despite taking the lead twice, defensive slip-ups give Babelsberg three goals for the eventual win. The team had retreated too far, at times back to their own penalty area.
Home against Hannover 96 II – 4–2
The match against Hannover was a make-or-break affair. Hannover were in second place and a loss would surely have seen Magdeburg losing touch with the top teams. But despite their advantage in technique and table position, Magdeburg controlled the match from start to end. A furious first ten minutes saw both sides score off a penalty before the hosts took the lead with a Fuchs goal after thirty minutes. Until the 84th Magdeburg had extended their lead to 4–1, before another napping defender allowed Hannover to make it 4–2 for the final whistle.
Away at Hallescher FC – 1–1
Last week saw Magdeburg travel to their arch rivals in the south of Saxony-Anhalt. In front of more than 10,000 spectators the guests started well, but were reduced to ten in the 23rd after Daniel Bauer appeared to kick an opponent who had roughly tackled him. Bauer himself says he was unconscious following that tackle. Nevertheless he was given a two-match ban. After the red card hosts Hallescher FC attempted to control the match, but were largely unsuccessful. They took the lead with 30 minutes left on the clock, but around the 70th a firecracker landed right next to the linesman, thrown from the stands populated by Halle „fans“. It resulted in a five-minute break that brought Magdeburg some time to consider their options. Even though Magdeburg had largely contained Halle before the interruption, this became more obvious afterwards and eventually resulted in the well-deserved equalizer by a Watzka header off a Racanel corner-kick.
After nine matches Magdeburg still have every chance to win promotion, but good results from the next three games against dead-last Goslar, St. Pauli reservers and Hertha Berlin reserves are imperative before the matches against competitors Chemnitzer FC and VfL Wolfsburg reserves.