On the past weekend, 1. FC Magdeburg had a friendly of sorts to play. While the match at Eintracht Braunschweig (infamous for being the first club in Germany to have a shirt sponsor, less famous for winning the 1967 German championship) was a league match and played for points, the atmosphere in the stadium itself more closely resembled a friendly. Magdeburg and Brunswick are sister cities and their footballing history is more or less linked as well. The very first football club in Magdeburg had founding members coming from Brunswick, and even during the Cold War friendlies between 1. FC Magdeburg and Eintracht Braunschweig were played occasionally, with Magdeburg on the losing end usually. After reunification, Magdeburg’s first shirt-sponsor was Jägermeister, the owner of which was deeply involved with Eintracht Braunschweig.
League matches between the teams have been rare though, as they played in different leagues, with Braunschweig usually playing in the higher league. But not only the clubs themselves are on friendly terms, but the fans are as well. This has led to Magdeburg receiving the full contingent of tickets reserved for away teams. And all of these 5,000 tickets were sold, too, so the match took place in a packed stadium, with 21,300 people watching.
Unfortunately, the match itself did not quite do the atmoshere justice. It was a hectic affair of two teams desperate for points and therefore nervous as hell, Magdeburg maybe even more so than Braunschweig. This nervousness became obvious when Magdeburg were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute. Andy Müller, who had suffered the foul, took the penalty, sending the ball into the low right corner of the goal. But to the horror of the Magdeburg fans and their goal, referee Manuel Gräfe had the penalty retaken, as Magdeburg’s Björn Lindemann had entered the box too early. And, fitting the current relationship of 1. FC Magdeburg and Lady Luck, Müller missed the goal on his second attempt, putting the ball outside the left post.
Now Braunschweig started to dominate the match, with Magdeburg hardly ever capable of finishing a pass. Logically, Braunschweig took the lead – young talent Oehrl scored his fifth goal of the season to make it 1-0 to the hosts. Magdeburg was thoroughly shocked and only thanks to their goalie Christian Beer having a really good day were they able to go into half-time only one goal down.
After the break, Magdeburg tried to put Braunschweig under more pressure, but this mostly failed as they were unable to solve their passing problem. However, in the 71st defensive midfielder Frank Gerster played a wonderful pass to Lindemann who put a low shot past Braunschweig’s Feijzic. As Christian Beer was able to prevent Braunschweig from scoring another, the game ended in a 1-all draw, a result that doesn’t really help either team.
The first part of my Brunswick weekend wasn’t all that successful, leaving me with a rotten feeling about Magdeburg’s quality of play.
The next day I went to Brunswick again. This time the match was Braunschweig’s Reserve against newly-promoted VfB Oldenburg. This (tier IV) Oberliga match saw Oldenburg with an opportunity to get into the top spot of the league – not that it matters: Due to the league reforms, no team will be promoted to tier III. Instead, only the top 5 teams will remain in tier IV, with the rest facing relegation to tier V.
The game was a rather boring affair in the first half that saw Oldenburg have the majority of the possession, but Braunschweig had the only clear-cut chance that was saved by a reflex from Oldenburg’s keeper Damerow. In the second half Oldenburg’s dominance continued, but also their lack of clear opportunities. By contrast, Braunschweig had two more clear-cut chances, but both were wasted. In the end Oldenburg had to be content with just that one point. Another game that left me somewhat unsatisfied.
Here’s hoping that Magdeburg’s Saturday encounter against league newcomers SV Babelsberg 03 will be of better quality and also have a better result.
Eintr. Braunschweig: Fejzic – Gundelach, Horacek, Reichel, Dogan – Wehlage, Danneberg, Lenze (80′ Pfitzner), Yildirim (76′ Rodrigues) – Oehrl, Schembri (89′ Hauk)
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Prest, Otte, Grundmann – F.Müller (58′ von der Weth), Habryka (58′ Tornieporth), A.Müller, Gerster, Neumann – Lindemann (78′ Manai), Jarakovic
31′ Oehrl 1-0
71′ Lindemann 1-1
Eintracht Braunschweig II: Lauenstein, Littmann, Pieper, Dimitrijevic, Barkallah, Ladwig, B. Fuchs, Pfitzner, Washausen, Koitka, Eilers (75′ Latus).
VfB Oldenburg: Damerow – Baal (75′ Woycik), Tailor, Frye, Rizzo – Eckel, van der Leij (85′ Puschkaruk), Thölking – Ghasemi-Nobakht (56′ Koc), Salomo, Kilicaslan