Tagarchiv Idiocy

The dirty deed is done

As I indicated yesterday, the Football Association of Saxony-Anhalt (FSA) does not agree with my opinion that culpability should play a role in determining which youth teams participate in the DFB-Pokal and NOFV-Pokal.
For reasons I cannot find in any of the statutes governing youth football or football in the FSA territory, officials have decided to register Hallescher FC’s Under-19 team for the DFB-Pokal and 1. FC Magdeburg’s Under-17 team for the much less prestigious NOFV-Pokal.1
1. FC Magdeburg have reacted with a press release that is mild in my opinion, but nevertheless manages to call the decision „unsportsmanlike“. It further adds that the decision reflects exactly a statement from Halle’s youth coordinator made last week and reported as „the only fair solution“ in Halle-based newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. The press release closes with words of regret with regard to the notion of fair play that is always propagated by the FSA, but seems to not have any influence on the association itself.
Magdeburg’s cooperation was not rewarded – the club had readily agreed to switch the final locations to Halle instead of Magdeburg in order to get the matches to be played. In essence, the decision rewards Halle’s boycotting the final at the close of last season with a spot in the DFB-Pokal. And while FSA president Werner Georg has apparently assumed full responsibility for the mess and also promised an internal investigation, I am not holding my breath for anything constructive.

All I can hope for is a resounding defeat for Halle in the DFB-Pokal – and in the Under-19 Bundesliga match against Magdeburg that is scheduled for 22 August.

  1. NOFV is the regional FA governing football in Brandeburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Berlin, Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt []

Top of the table – and a cup farce

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…
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Speechless

Six matches to go in the league – 27 point deficit to #1 spot
Cup: Lost in the semi-final against Halberstadt. A team we have never ever lost against.

What gives?

End of an Era

How I’d have loved to write about the end of Volker Rehboldt’s time as the chairman of the board at 1. FC Magdeburg. But alas, it is the end of Steffen Baumgart’s time with the club instead.
Yesterday, the board had a meeting and apparently determined to send Baumgart on gardening leave, but also told the media they would not confirm this, because they wanted to tell „the affected party personally„. (Emphasis mine)
Well, today, Baumgart confirmed he was sacked when asked by several media outlets. Via the telephone, apparently.

This is just the last straw in a long row of ineptitude and incompetence put on display by the current board. It all began way back in 2007, when the board decided that the 1. FC Magdeburg squad was strong enough to reach tenth place in the following season. This led to the club signing exactly zero new forwards, although one of the team’s top scorers had left for a 2nd Bundesliga side. Of course, Magdeburg finished 11th, outranked on goal deficit by a mere three goals. New manager Paul Linz was then signed to reach the top spot in the 2008-09 season, with a budget that was arguably the largest in the league. Naturally, he failed and the team he had constructed was then taken over by Steffen Baumgart. I suppose a club with a notoriously over-expectant audience is not the best place to start a managing career, but as Baumgart himself pointed out, it was his choice. Well, Baumgart finished the season decently, winning the regional cup and thus qualifying for the DFB-Pokal. The league performance was somewhat poor though.

His contract was extended nevertheless, and several players that his predecessor had signed were let go, claiming they were „Stinkstiefel“ who poisoned the atmosphere at the club. Baumgart was given a number of new players, with some decent signings such as Denis Wolf or Lars Fuchs. However, Denis Wolf has only played about ten minutes of competitive football due to injuries, and several players were outright disappointments.
At the winter break, Magdeburg were ten points behind the coveted top spot, but Baumgart – and the players – were radiating confidence that they still could turn things around. As the other teams‘ results have shown, Magdeburg could have significantly reduced the deficit with a decent start. But it couldn’t have happened any other way – Magdeburg gained one point from five matches in 2010.

Of course, sacking the manager is now the logical consequence, you say? It would be, but if the chairman of the board keeps stating publicly that the team is a bunch of lazy sods who do not deserve to wear the shirt…and that in the 1-4 defeat at Hannover 96’s reserves „a characterless team had failed a decent manager“…
Then one has to wonder why the consequence is sacking the manager and allowing the team to continue.

The club are now looking for a new manager to pick things up from July 1, until then assistant manager and youth center boss Carsten Müller will be responsible. As Magdeburg are forced to reduce their budget by half a million Euros, it appears that nothing ever changes: No professional football in my home town.

Crisis has come to Magdeburg

With Magdeburg as of yesterday having the third-worst start of the decade, the time has come to take a long hard look at the club in general, including management and the whole shebang.
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1. FC Magdeburg vs Stark

This is the comment that appeared on the most important fan site after Magdeburg’s match against SV Babelsberg 03 on Saturday, refereed by controversial FIFA referee Wolfgang Stark. As Magdeburg begin 2009 with a tough schedule, playing the other top 4 teams in the first three matches, tensions were high at Stadion Magdeburg.

After kickoff on Saturday, Magdeburg immediately seized control of the game, dominating Babelsberg at will, and subsequently scored the lead off a Watzka freekick with just 8 minutes gone. However, Stark and his linesmen judged the goal to be offside – a blatant error, as it was easy to see that the ball had been deflected by Babelsberg’s N’Diaye. After making the call, Stark went over to his assistant, but upheld his decision. Both men had an excellent, unobstructed view on the action. Magdeburg kept up the pressure, but could not score, despite great opportunities. Vujanovic’s freekick only hit the post and Watzka’s direct volley went right onto Babelsberg’s keeper. Thus, with assistance from the referee, Babelsberg and Magdeburg went into the dressing rooms with no goals between them.

Nothing changed in the second half, Magdeburgcontinuing their attacks and eventually scored a goal that not even the referee could take away, when Brendel hammered the ball home with a beautiful dropkick from 20 yards out. After the goal, Babelsberg changed their tactics, attacking relentlessly – and here Magdeburg made the mistake to ease their pressure. They were now pushed back to their own box more and more often, and everyone could feel the equalizer coming. Then new signing Bauer mistimed a pass to Brendel in midfield and left Magdeburg wide open to a counter-attack. Captain Daniel Rosin was able to stop the Babelsberg attack, but at the expense of a somewhat dubious penalty. Rosin slid into the attacker, and while not playing the ball, he also did not significantly touch the attacking player who went down nonetheless. Stark waved away the protests, but it was again N’Diaye who would be in the center of things. Before the kick had been taken, N’Diaye had already entered the box, causing Stark to have the penalty retaken – and this time Beer saved the kick.
Whoever had hoped that this would have been warning enough for the Magdeburg players not to let Babelsberg anywhere near the penalty area was soon diappointed however. Babelsberg’s attacks continued unabated and after a throw-in, when the ball had already been cleared out of the box, Stark’s whistle was heard again. With horror the stadium realized that he had given another penalty. The culprit had been Magdeburg’s Racanel, or so Stark said. Racanel had cleared the ball, but a Babelsberg player managed to jump into the way of his leg and be caught. Racanel and his teammates could not believe this decision, but it stood and Babelsberg equalised.
Magdeburg’s final attacking moves led to nothing but another Vujanovic shot bouncing off the post.

Stark would not take questions from reporters after the match, because he „has to get his plane“. Thank you.

The other weekend results only added to the misery, with Kiel beating Cottbus, after being a goal down until the 86th minute and Halle winning in Wilhelmshaven. Next week, Magdeburg travel to their arch rivals, doubtlessly hoping to be the first team to beat them in this season.

Line-ups:
1. FC Magdeburg: Beer – Bankert, Wejsfelt, Rosin, Probst (46′ Zander) – Brendel (78′ Matthias), Bauer, Racanel, Watzka – Vujanovic, Braham
SV Babelsberg 03: Unger – Surma (52. Oumari), Weidlich, Moritz, Müller (60. Lange), Frahn, Prochnow, Ergirdi (60. Hartwig), Civa, N’Diaye, Laars

Scoring summary:
51′ Brendel 1-0
67′ Beer saves Moritz‘ penalty
82′ Frahn 1-1

Attendance:
12,042

Match video can be found at the mdr site.

Winter…

After last week’s look at bigger things, now a look at a smaller idiocy on part of the DFB (German FA).
Last weekend, winter came to Germany. Sort of. There was not a lot of snow, but it was enough to see quite an impressive number of games cancelled in the Regionalliga Nord. Among the games cancelled was Magdeburg’s match in Hamburg’s Stadion Hoheluft against Altonaer FC von 1893.
Altona had been looking forward to the match, because it promised to boost their attendance that was stuck at a meagre 1,107 spectators on average. As 1. FC Magdeburg have the reputation of bringing a considerable contingent of travelling fans, there was much rejoicing in Altona. Then, however, the snow came and the game was cancelled.
In its infinite wisdom, the German FA have since decided to fix December 3, a Wednesday, as the new date. This alone was sufficient to reduce the travelling contingent, as it s a regular working day. But the FA have gone a step further. As Hoheluft does not possess floodlights – or rather, as the DFB consider them inadequate, kick-off time has been fixed at 2pm. That is 2 o’clock in the afternoon, or 1400 hrs. Obviously, this move largely eliminates any chances for a large attendance.
Neither club had desired to play at this date or at this time, but the DFB fixed the date anyway. I think the general opinion is a nice sarcastic „thank you very much“.

The week before, Magdeburg beat Energie Cottbus II with a 3-1 scoreline and moved within one point of league leaders Kiel.