European Cup, Reloaded ⋆ An Old International

European Cup, Reloaded

A pre-season tournament saw the hosts FC Magdeburg in good form against international opposition from Swansea and Genoa. The home team won and managed to convince for large parts in this tournament.

In order to get an idea what the atmosphere was like when FC Magdeburg played in a European competition, the look necessarily goes back to 1990 (!!!) when the Club played none other than Rovaniemi from Finland in September 1990 (0:0:); the players left a country called GDR and returned to a unified Germany. In the second round of the UEFA Cup in 1990/91 Girondins de Bordeaux were too strong. It ended an almost 30 year period of European games for Magdeburg. It was an equally long time before any international teams would come to the city on the banks of river Elbe to play against the Blue and Whites in a competitive match.

To be fair, the occasion was a pre-season tournament, the guests were Swansea City (Wales) and CFC Genoa (Italy). The modus operandi was simple: each team would play two matches of 60 minutes. In case of a draw penalties would decide the tie. It was a chance for each team to see how – with the new season just around the corner – the team would look like in a competition.

1. FCMagdeburg – Swansea City

The first game between Swansea and Genoa was a 1:1 draw which the Italian visitors won on penalties. The crowd of just under 5900 were eagerly awaiting their team for the first match against Wales. If this was only European Cup light, then Wales nonetheless came with international flair as they have the Ayew (Jordan and AndrĂ©) brothers among their staff as well as the former England hope Wayne Routledge. This did not help the game at all; in fact the Swans were hardly seen going forward and only once had Magdeburg keeper Brunst to demonstrate his abilities. The defender Dennis Erdmann underestimated a long ball and thus opened the space behind him for a shot. Brunst was there. Magdeburg looked more agile, sharper, yet could not capitalise on their dominance. Chances were wasted as they were created by the minute. At the end it had to be penalties. In the recent past Magdeburg had not been particularly successful in this department of football; Just like England during the World Cup they overcame this and won 4:2 on penalties. Magdeburg’s keeper Alexander Brunst can now claim to have saved a penalty from AndrĂ© Ayew who has represented Ghana 76 times.

It was a dogged game and more than once players from either side had to be separated by the referee and their respective team mates. For a pre-season game there was much pressure already applied.

1. FC Magdeburg – CFC Genoa

The second match against Genoa was an entirely different matter as the visitors from Christopher Columbus were much more fluid in their set-up. This helped the game enormously yet chances were rare. Genoa tried to get their passing game going but did not succeed. On the other side did Magdeburg well and created chances of their own. In the 23rd minute Lohkemper got the ball on the edge of the box and thumped it past the Italian keeper. 1:0 for the Club. The man with the number 7 would later become the match winner as passed the ball on to Nils Butzen who finished from a very close angle and nutmegged the Italian keeper to make it 2:0. It also meant that Magdeburg have won the tournament and another trophy. Since this was against international opposition it was of course not long before the words European Cup were mentioned. Magdeburg’s Megalomania at its best.

Besides the sporting aspect it was nice to see travelling support from either visiting team. Genoa had about 30 fans with them who brought banners and a huge flag. Swansea had just over a handful of supporters with their flags. With two weeks to go before with St. Pauli the Bundesliga 2 commences, it was a good test for the participating teams and especially for Magdeburg.

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