A lot has been said and written – here and elsewhere about the history of FC Magdeburg. Coaches have come and gone as have players. One has been with the club now for seven years, he has seen three head coaches, promotion twice and has been an integral part of the team. Always.
There are not many players that have come to embody the club. Since 2013 it was Marius Sowislo, the former captain who guided the team to two promotions: one in 2015 from the fourth to the third division and then in 2018 it was under his captaincy that Magdeburg reached Bundesliga 2. Though he has since called it a day, Sowislo nonetheless has become a club legend on and off the pitch.
However, one player has been there when Sowislo joined in the summer of 2013: Christian Beck who was signed by Andreas Petersen in June 2012. The club had just gone through the worst season by finishing bottom of division four and have just escaped relegation thanks to a restructuring of the league pyramide. Beck joined from local rival Halberstadt, the birth place of club legend Jürgen Sparwasser and occupied the same role as his famous predecessor: centre forward. He is tall, standing at 1.96m and as such is of course a feared opponent with high balls into the area. In his first season he scored a meagre eight goals only to almost triple that to 22 the following year. His goal scoring tally is phenomenal: so far he has scored more than 100 goals in 187 matches for Magdeburg.
Additionally, he has been free of injury for six years now and has started almost each game for his club. He had to adapt to three different coaches and their ideas of football: Petersen, Härtel and now Oenning. Each coach has a different system but Beck always took it into his stride and played himself into the starting XI. The decision to give the captain’s armband to Beck was the right one made by Oenning. The progression was natural for the player and probably re-adjusted the team spirit. It is fair to say that it was to the benefit of him and the team. Ever since the return leg of the season has commenced in January the club play better and have had a mini series of four games unbeaten with two draws and two wins.
What is far more important is his work rate off the ball to create space for his team mates. This cannot be praised highly enough, in fact! In the early stages of the season it was Beck who worked tirelessly in order to move the opponents out of space so that others could push into the gaps. He was to be found in midfield to help pressing the opponent. Beck was the hub of the play and as such of course easily identified by the opposition to shut down and thus stifle Magdeburg’s forward play. Nonetheless or rather despite that he has scored! Eight goals in 24 matches and four assists. Given the problems the club have had, this is pretty good going. Behind him in the scorer list are Türpitz (six) and Lohkemper (four). A few years ago, it was only Beck who scored the goals while the second best was Sowislo with seven, only a third of Beck’s tally back then. This has been addressed and Lohkemper and Türpitz seem to be in fine form. In this role of hidden play maker Beck defies convention as tall strikers have normally little to do outside the opposition’s penalty area. Their match brief is to hang around to score goals with the head or hold up the second balls.
It is fair to say that Christian Beck who turns 31 on March 10 has been a key player for the club not just by his ability to score goals but by his consistency and his work rate for the team. It was Andreas Petersen who spotted his talent and began to form him. He was instrumental for Härtel and the team to gain promotion twice within three years and he is once more important for Michael Oenning as goal scorer and captain. Without a doubt “The Eternal Beck” is already a player held in high regards among the club’s supporters. During three seasons in division three, Beck has played in all games but one, that is a whopping 113 games. Lower down he has played in the regionalised fourth division a total of 148 games out of 148.
Fate is a cruel bastard! Just as this piece was finished, Beck was in hospital with fractures to his cheek bone and eye socket as well as a concussion. He will not be able to play for a few weeks and will be sorely missed by team mates and fans alike. It is now up to the team to show their adaptability just as Beck has shown over the years to secure the club stay up for the coming season.