Magdeburg may just have turned a corner in Munich, yet there is still a long way to go.
The regular reader will have noticed that the frequency of writings about FC Magdeburg have increased over the last few weeks; the last text was published just two weeks ago which is a lot for a blog which observes the fate of Magdeburg from the safe distance of 1000 km, in Paris. The increase in volume can be a sign of joy or sorrow. Sadly, the latter is the case as Magdeburg seem to be treading water and not progressing in 2020. Even changes as radical as dropping Christian Beck from the starting eleven have not helped to change things for the better. Moreover, Beck is no longer the team captain; the honour has been bestowed upon Jürgen Gjasula, the oldest outfield player and surely one with a huge well of experience. It is however, telling that those changes were attempted in the first place. The coach is still trying to coax the best formation from the players available. That Beck was the most prominent victim of this process was expected by many. What many did not expect was that it would misfire so blatantly. Anthony Roczen, his replacement seemed lost and out of his depth. Indeed, it is almost impossible to step into the void of Beck. Too much has he achieved at Magdeburg: two promotions, one relegation, several cups and goal of the month awards. That is a huge legacy and requires some time and quality to fill this gap.
The coach has no rewarding task, it has to be said. The squad seems inbalanced, there are rumours of a rift between the older and established players and those who are younger and have just arrived at the start of the season. These are only rumours of course, and at the end of the day professional footballers should be able to do their job just like any other employees. It’s not unusual that not all colleagues get along well. More importantly it is now clear that his predecessor was not up to the task to rebuild the squad but more importantly to rebuild confidence within the team that has been relegated. This has now become blatantly obvious. As soon as there is a team with an idea, with a plan, Magdeburg are lost. In previous years it was Magdeburg who had the swagger and the passes the team played were full of confidence and had a purpose and a direction. This has now been lost and the task to rebuild, to reinstall some of the self esteem in the team which has now dropped to 16. position is similar to a heart operation on a patient with a difficult heart condition.
There are signs that things might just turn around, most specifically the second half against TSV 1860 Munich last Sunday. The team played with gusto and wanted something to take home with. They rewarded themselves only with a point thanks to a penalty that can be given. However, there were occasions in which a player, twice Conteh, Beck once, was through on goal, with only the keeper to beat. With a positive mindset this would have resulted in at least a couple of goals. They will come.
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will (Sam Cooke)