FC Magdeburg face the month of truth in January 2021 as they will have to play seven games in 21 days. That is one hell of a start to the new year.
It is a new year, 2021 and almost from the start, Magdeburg face a challenge they have not faced in recent years. One has to go back to 1991 or 1994 to find a similar situation for Magdeburg. Back then it was all about qualification for a new division; now it is all about saving their skin by avoiding relegation. Under normal circumstances there would have been five matches this month but during a pandemic there is no normal. Magdeburg had Corona positive tests a fortnight before Christmas forcing the matches against Saarbrücken a d Duisburg to be postponed to a later date in January, making it seven games in 21 days.
They so far have had a solid season but their troubles are off pitch. Their main investor, Mikhail Ponomarev, has announced to withdraw his support from the club at the end of the season after five years. This may be a problem for the medium term future, however more pressing are issues concerning wages not.paid to players for some months and this affair has been taken to court. This brings unrest into the squad, which may just play into Magdeburg’s hands.
Only three days later, one of the teams that have taken this league by storm will visit Magdeburg. It will be a first for either side. Even though Saarbrücken have had a little slump just before Christmas, they come as favourites and certainly will not be easy to play. Saarbrücken are no contender for promotion but they come with swagger and confidence, the latter is dangerously absent in Magdeburg for some time now. Swagger has never been seen this season, or for large parts of last year to be honest.
After two home matches to get the new year underway, Magdeburg will hit the road for the next three matches. First stop will be Munich, where Unterhaching are the opponents of the day. At the time of writing they have as many defeats as Magdeburg but also already six wins, twice as many as Magdeburg have. This should yield three points yet there is no guarantee. Teams lower down in the table seem to present bigger problems than teams higher placed – with exceptions of course! – for Magdeburg.
Which brings us directly to the following opposition: Duisburg. A year ago they were top of the table, now they are in danger of going down – that is the reality in league 3 in Germany; a rollercoaster ride. Another club with off pitch problems as there are rumours their money is about to run out soon, very soon indeed: the time given was end of 2020. How much this may have unsettled the squad remains to be seen.
Just like the match against Saarbrücken, this match should have been played already in December but due to positive Corona tests within the Magdeburg camp, had to be re-scheduled, compressing the fixtures into the space of 21 days.
This match marks the beginning of the second half of the season and brings up uneasy memories: on the opening day of the season, Magdeburg lost at home to their arch rivals, Halle. The return match away at Halle brings with it the possibility to amend this ignominy.
Back in September the defeat was a harbinger of what was to come and a continuation of the dilemma from last season.
TSV 1860 Munich
In September Magdeburg were close to beat the Lions from Munich only to concede late. However, a point is a point, yet it was not enough. This time at home, Munich come with the confidence of second place in the table and with the knowledge of playing some very good soccer on the way up the league.
A defeat must be avoided, a point is a must, a win would be superb. This is valid for ALL games, not only this against TSV 1860 Munich at home.
The last game in this month and once again Magdeburg could amend a defeat from the early stages of the season. Back then Köln have dished out a 2-0 home defeat and have looked good throughout the season so far. A home win is vital as would be a win in almost each of these games. At the end of this marathon there will be clarity as to where Magdeburg are headed: down or staying in this division. Staying up has the utmost importance and winning is the best way to ensure it during this gruelling month.
Seven matches equals 21 points and after this stretch there will be another sixteen, i.e. another 48 points, that is 69 points still available. Surely, this is impossible but Magdeburg must attempt to get as many points as possible from the remaining games, starting this Saturday against Uerdingen at home.
No other team have ever achieved this in this division: sitting bottom of the table at the beginning of the year and escaping the drop down.
Che Guevara once said
“Let’s be realistic and try the impossible.”
Magdeburg must adopt this and make this their mantra; not just in January but for the rest of the season.Good writing does not come by chance, so consider this: