That winning feeling is wonderful. Yesterday’s match between FC Magdeburg and Greuther Fürth was one of those days that made one believe in all the good things in live. Sunshine, a team that was taking the game to the opponent and came back from a goal down to secure a vital home win.
The final whistle at the MDCC-Arena in Magdeburg was accompanied by a loud roar of joy and relief. Players and coaching staff were joyous as were the people in the stands. Magdeburg had just won 2-1 against Greuther Fürth, their second home win this season and a vital one at that. Yet, it could have been so different. Magdeburg came out of the box quick and attacked early and should have scored but nerves prevented them to keep their cool. This was the case after just four minutes when Beck was onside and had only the keeper to beat. Why he dribbled and tried to pass to Lohkemper only he knows. The resulting corner brought nothing.
Magdeburg continued that way and worked their way forward but were caught unawares at the back after just 11 minutes. An early goal and many feared the worst would happen: the morale would sink and more goals be conceded. The morale is intact and the home side equalized only five minutes later when a goal kick misfired and came to Lohkemper whose cross found Beck whose volley let the keeper no chance. Two errors within a few seconds and it was game on.
The team of head coach Michael Henning never let anyone doubt who was going to take the three points today and attacked early, never letting Fürth finding their momentum. However, for a few moments the visitors showed up and came dangerously close to the host’s goal where Mario Seidel gave his debut this season. Interesting side fact: each time Seidel has played in the past, the club left the pitch as winners. A good Omen.
There were though, 75 minutes still to play and knowing that Magdeburg had thrown points away galore in the last ten minutes of a number of matches this season, the 18000 in the stands were in for a nerve wracking treat.
Between the 16. minute and the half-time Magdeburg should have scored at least once more, had they managed the offside trap of the visitors. Time and again it was Lohkemper who was a yard too fast or the pass a blink of an eye too early. People were getting nervous and saw it all coming. Added to this was the inconsistency of the referee who dished out yellow cards early for minor rule infractions but let far worse fouls go unchecked. This was the case after 74 minutes when the newly substituted Tarek Chahed was through on goal and was blatantly fouled but the referee decided to play on.
Back to the first half. With the passing lacking precision and Fürth occasionally countering time stretched dangerously. The spectators were rewarded after 45 minutes when Lohkemper scored though it was jittery. The move started when the right wing back Marius Blüten surged forward only to waste another chance. However, the player was still on the pitch and slowly jogged back but he was in the opponent’s penalty area when he received a pass from a Fürth player (ironically, it was the son of FCM Legend Wolfgang Seguin) he quickly turned and played the ball into the feet of Lohkemper who took his time and almost bottled it. Thankfully he didn’t and the stadium erupted! Shortly after it was half time and time for a breather.
The second half saw a similar game as in the first: Magdeburg pressing and attacking yet the goal to decide the tie wouldn’t come. There were chances to do so but Magdeburg wouldn’t be Magdeburg if they didn’t keep the game open and everyone watching on the edge of their seats or on their toes.
Bülter with a bullet of a header – just inches wide, the aforementioned Chahed, crosses, corners: Magdeburg threw a lot at Fürth but the goal simply didn’t come. It was exactly this, what has caused some of the despair as in November the game at Fürth saw Magdeburg entering the last ten minutes of the match with the same scoreline, only to concede twice before the final whistle to travel home empty handed. Therefore, the nervousness was palpable and comprehensible. The more was the relief as the final whistle came and it was certain that three points would stay at Magdeburg.
The question now is: “is it enough?” as Sandhausen are on a roll and have four points more than Magdeburg. With three games to go, the finale couldn’t be more interesting and tense. A finish above the line, in 15. place is still possible.