Tagarchiv Youth team

Season’s over – again

The 2010-11 season comes to a close next Saturday, and it looks very much like 1. FC Magdeburg will compete in the fourth tier for another year. What was a reason for dissatisfaction in the past two years, when Kiel and Babelsberg were promoted, is actually a source of relief. After a disastrous campaign, Magdeburg got very close to being relegated to the fifth tier. So close, in fact, as the club hadn’t been since 2002 when relegation was avoided only on matchday 33.
What had happened? After the club had tried very hard to win promotion in the past two seasons, a huge hole cropped up in the budget, and the board decided to a) lie about its existence and size, then b) admit its existence but lied about the size and then c) created a squad from scratch that was very very cheap, compared to the squads in the past two seasons. Unfortunately, along with being cheap, the team was also weak, aside from a few gifted players. Most of the team certainly had quality for a tier 5 team, but sadly, they had to compete in tier 4. At the start of the season, Magdeburg had lost two forwards who had scored 31 goals between them in the 2009-10 season. Of the team leaders in the past season, only two stayed, Daniel Bauer and Stephan Neumann. In any case, the club got off to a surprisingly good start, with 10 points from 4 matches, and then lost to RB Leipzig 1-2 after a good performance. Unfortunately, that would be the last time the team played well for quite a while – with dire consequences for their rank in the league table. After day 4, Magdeburg had led the league, but at the halfway point of the season – day 17 – they were ranked eleventh, with just four points separating the club from the relegation zone. In the winter break, forward Eddy Vorm left the club for Holland after he’d scored only once in the league, and forward Shergo Biran and midfielder Kosta Rodrigues were signed. The latter was not immediately helpful, while the former was banned from playing due to some transfer issues until March…
After matchday 24 saw the club slump to a 0-2 home defeat at the hands of Plauen, the board sacked manager Ruud Kaiser and brought in Wolfgang Sandhowe who was in charge of the reserve team at the time. The reserve was bottom of their league, too…
While Sandhowe did not at all improve the team’s playing style, Magdeburg did avoid relegation with him in charge. He did manage to get more points per game than Kaiser, but a difference of .18 is negligible at best.
The consequences of this season have already been drawn. Magdeburg will get a team manager who will be in charge of all the club’s teams. Hopefully this person will also understand that Sandhowe is not a long-term option, as his previous record with clubs is not exactly one of success. As there is an impending league reform next season, there will be no relegation from tier 4, making it an ideal season to form a new team to compete for promotion in 2013 – one of the famous two-year plans is in order, I’d say.

To sum up the various team’s performances:

  • Senior team: just avoids promotion with one matchday to go
  • Under 23: Relegated from tier 5, comes in last of 16 teams
  • Under-19: Relegated from Youth Bundesliga (top flight), 9 points behind  non-relegation spots
  • Under-17: Mid of the table, about 20 points behind promotion spot in the second-highest level
  • Under-15: Third in the top level Regionalliga Mitteldeutschland

One more thing: Next season, thing’s will be different at this here blog, although I don’t exactly know in which way. Different is all I can promise.

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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Selling out instead of shelling out

I might have mentioned some degree of incompetence and inability to understand what’s what on the side of the youth department at 1. FC Magdeburg before. Last time I talked about this, seven players of the successful Under-19 had left despite being young enough to add another season, this time in the top flight at that age, the Under-19 Bundesliga. I added that I wasn’t holding my breath with regard to the management’s ability to secure the services of Daniel Ujazdowski, last season’s U-19 top scorer, for another year or two.
Today, I was proved right. According to youth department chief Carsten Müller, the club could „only go so far“ with regard to a contract offer. Ujazdowski was offered a „perspective in the Under-23 side“, but apparently the offer was not good enough. Naturally, the exact nature of the offer is unknown, but Ujazdowski’s mentor (and former FCM star) Wolfgang Seguin is quoted as saying that „Daniel can only play football, and the club’s offer was really beneath contempt“. [Source]
Assuming that the player was not unreasonable in his demands, it should have been possible to keep him at the club, but instead another talented youth is let go in the desire to save money. But the longterm goal of the club cannot be to be the only Regionalliga side that makes a steady profit – the goal must be promotion and securing a position in the the top 50 of German football (finishing 14th in the 3rd Liga would do that). This will hardly be possible, if the top youth players leave the club year after year. At some point the management has to learn that it is not enough to provide a perspective with regard to the sporting side of things, but that you have to provide for the financial needs of the players – and for their post-football future, by getting them apprenticeship positions for example.

Until then, everything done in forming young talented players will be in vain, as the majority will continue to leave the club once they finish school at the nearby sport schools.

Future? What future?

In the last post, I casually mentioned that the Under-19 squad of 1. FC Magdeburg won promotion to the A-Jugend-Bundesliga, the top flight for teams of that age group. As usual in the youth teams, there is a more or less high degree of fluctuation, as players naturally age.
It is therefore especially annoying when a player leaves who can still play in the side for another year. In the case of the FCM U19 squad, ten players have left at then end of the season, seven of which could still have played in U19 for another year. Three of those players, including the captain, leave for RB Leipzig, the German „project“ of Austria’s Red Bull company, the modus operandi of which is well-known: Money, money, money, and everything must happen quickly. In the case of these three players, maybe one must be lenient with FCM management, seeing as how they just cannot compete with the amounts of cash RBL has available. But when six players leave without having a new club or to fellow Bundesliga side Carl Zeiss Jena who do not exactly possess mountains of cash, the question as to the cause of this exodus must be raised.
Another player has already told the club he is leaving, but the youth center manager claims there is still a chance for his staying. Don’t hold your breath.
It is not understandable how the management expect to save the squad from relegation, if they let go such a large number of players. On the other hand, this fits in well with the incompetence that you get used to when following 1. FC Magdeburg.

In other news, the senior squad won a first test yesterday, beating Askania Ballenstedt, an eighth-tier side, 15-0.

Some new season, same old league

The things we do for love…like spending half an hour to get to the stadium to attend the press presentation of the new 1. FC Magdeburg senior squad – despite temperatures way beyond anything that can be called comfortable.
But after last years fiasco, the club took the path of complete reconstruction, letting go 14 players while signing 12 new ones. Among the victims of this change were also Magdeburg veterans, such as Marcel Probst who had been at the club since 2002. Others, like Christian Prest, took the opportunity and retired from competitive football.
This is the new Magdeburg squad:

No. Position Player
1 GK Matthias Tischer
2 DF Rainer Müller
3 DF Sebastian Sumelka
4 DF Daniel Halke
5 DF Philipp Saalbach
6 DF Tobias Becker
7 MF Denis Wolf
8 MF Manuel Stiefel
9 FW Marko Verki?
10 FW Marvin Wijks
11 FW Guilherme dos Santos
12 GK Christian Beer
13 MF Moritz Instenberg
14 FW Maik Georgi
15 MF Tobias Scharlau
18 MF Tim Girke
19 MF Stephan Neumann
20 MF Daniel Bauer (Captain)
21 FW Eddy Vorm
22 FW Patrick Bartsch
23 DF Tobias Friebertshäuser
30 GK Franko Flückinger

Of particular interest are Wijks and Vorm, both of which have already played in the Dutch Eredivisie, even if only for a low number of minutes. The squad that the new manager and managing director have assembled is comparatively young, with Christian Beer the oldest player at 29 (Beer has ruptured his cruciate and will be out of action for the first half of the season) and fellow goalkeeper Franko Flückiger (4 caps for the national Under-19 team) the youngest at 19. As of July 1, the squad has an average age of only 23,2 years and is one of the youngest teams to represent the club.
It remains to be seen how they fare in the league, manager Kaiser has until 6 August to form a team from these 22 players.

In other news, the Under-23 team has won promotion to the fifth-tier Oberliga Süd, allowing the players to gather experience in a more competitive environment than before. The Under-19 team won promotion to the top-flight Under-19 Bundesliga. Both teams will be fighting relegation.
The senior team will be given no precise task in terms of a position to finish in, instead the team is expected to improve over the whole season. Here’s hoping that this works well and the fans reward that, too.

P.S. To signify a new start, I have changed the looks of the place. Hopefully I can changed the general tone of the posts too.

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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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.