Above the Line ⋆ An Old International

Above the Line

A meek goalless draw against Meppen was the third game for Magdeburg that they have stayed unbeaten and the second consecutive clean sheet. Positive, yes positive signs these are but they are not sufficient.

Early December and it is getting tiresome to write something that is a) different and b) heartening about FC Magdeburg. If anything, their last game on Friday was neither of the above. Not different as the team once more demonstrated how dull their play is. Meppen, the opponent on the night let them have the ball, knowing fully well that Magdeburg would not know what to do with it. They were harmless. Having the ball is not enough. You need to have ideas what to do with the ball in and around the box and in front of goal. The play was too static and too horizontal. Crosses were scarce, shots from distance went wide.

Heartening is only that Magdeburg are above the line which marks the relegation zone – for the first time since September. This may just be something that could push the team even more. And being pushed they need. In fact they need a kick up the backside and a proper one. No vanities are allowed.

Quiet before the storm?

The quiet in and around the club may be good – for now. A storm has to be unleashed come the short winter break. There needs a re-adjustment of the squad. A re-adjustment towards more flexibility and movement. In other words: a creative player with the guts and lungs to take on this task. Re-adjustment in the coaching team seems as necessary as on the pitch. Listening to head coach Thomas Hoßmang becomes ever more painful for all the platitudes and excuses week in and week out. After the Meppen match he was honest enough to concede that the point which the draw had earned them, was indeed a lucky one and that the team was not on form, too often making wrong choices when going forward.

Not Enough

One point may push them up and above the line but it is important to see that other teams around them have at least two games in hand and have only one point less. In this context, one point is just not enough. There remain three matches before the end of the year: away at Lübeck, home to Saarbrücken and away at Duisburg. Two if these teams have been promoted; Saarbrücken have stunned this division so far and deserve their spot high up in the table. Lübeck have turned a corner after a rocky start. Duisburg seem to be in free fall and sit second from bottom in the table. Only Meppen are below but have three games in hand as they had to quarantine themselves for almost the whole of November.

This point is not enough. The club are doing just enough to keep the coach but not enough to keep themselves in this league. It is too little to live but too much to die.

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