It is only the second week of the year but FC Magdeburg have already produced headlines enough for at least the first half of the year. Some of the news were absolutely devastating to the point of utter disbelief before a convincing three points concluded the week.
It was a bombshell that commenced the week when managing director Mario Kallnik burdened the centre forwards Christian Beck and Sören Bertram with being the cause of the crisis. This is a potential boomerang as it was himself who was responsible in signing these two. The interview was broadcast on the club’s channels and contained a lot of material that is correct; about corona and the impact of it. This is a major point and Kallnik argued well here. However, the first few minutes were explosive as the players were publicly accused. Such instances should remain private; after all FC Magdeburg is NOT FC Hollywood. Moreover, it was Kallnik who often spoke of values and the Magdeburg DNA. This certainly is not it.
With all due respect for his work since 2012 – Kallnik has overseen the financial recovery of the club after all – this did not go down well with the supporters and calls for his as well as the head coach’s head were loud that day. Talk was of him being a dictator etc. and that power has corrupted him. It underlined once more that Magdeburg have been locked in a downward spiral since autumn 2018 and need some positive news, some progress; urgently.
The match against Saarbrücken should have been one of those turning points. Alas, it was not to be. Magdeburg demonstrated an improved display but were one goal down within the first five minutes due to a dubious penalty. Although they drew level with four minutes to go in the first half, their sleepiness during the initial fifteen minutes after the re-start cost them dearly, again. Against Uerdingen Magdeburg have conceded and once again against Saarbrücken they let one in. Despite shouts (justified) for a penalty and an offensive foul (also justified) nothing happened and it is clear that Magdeburg have been robbe that day but also have let themselves down. Again. Saarbrücken needed some confidence boost and that they got with this win in Magdeburg.
Another bombshell: Christian Beck the currently longest serving player retired from the captaincy! Only a fool would not link the quotes from Monday’s interview and this decision. This was huge since Beck has been with the club for seven years and always has scored a double digit figure. This decision further indicates how misbalanced the chemistry inside the club is currently. Disharmony and discord alongside terrible results. Yet the club’s direction decree that all is well and there would be no need to change the coach, because at the end of the day, Magdeburg are not Schalke according to sporting director Otmar Schork. This may be so, thankfully, yet sometimes change is necessary.
There was an outpour of sympathy for the player. He was publicly reprimanded and made responsible for the sporting crisis during a season when he has spent more time on the bench than in his entire career. Sure, at 32 he is no longer the youngest and his pace has gone and so has his freshness after two years of permanent struggle. When he was playing he was often left alone up front and tracked back. In Zwickau he stopped the ball on the line, thus helping to secure the win! He made runs that normally should by midfielders and wingers while the centre, where he normally has his natural habitat, was empty. Ever the team player he worded his decision wisely stating that in his current form he will not be able to help the team and thus gives up the armband to focus in his playing and performances. Coach Hoßmang added that the discussion with him has been emotional, leaving it open to interpretation. This had style and it was dealt internally and not in the public sphere.
For a change some non-playing matters came to the fore – something that requires historical knowledge and careful consideration. An academic researcher has published a work about all the national coaches of the GDR before the background of the political scenery. Why this study has not made bigger headlines is beyond comprehension as its content will change the perception of Magdeburg’s most successful coach, Heinz Krügel. It has come to light that he served in the Waffen-SS between 1940 and 1944! This will have far ranging consequences for club and city as the square outside the ground is named after him and the supporters adore him and still sing his name in side the ground, which among the common people carries his name, too: HKS = Heinz Krügel Stadium. There will be a follow-up to this.
The third match of the week, away at Unterhaching. In April 2018 Philip Türpitz scored the only goal on the way to promotion; in 2021 the match is a six pointer.
Magdeburg continued were they begun onTuesday night and gave the hosts no breathing space. However, the few gasps Unterhaching had they used to show how fragile, how easily outplayed Magdeburg can be. Thankfully, their misfiring in front of goal was Magdeburg’s fortune as Sané scored from a wonderful move down the left. Granatowski, signed on loan just a week ago played a long ball behind the defence where Dominik Ernst connected, carried his run through to the goalie and crossed to the edge of the box, near the D where Sané waited, unmarked, and had no troubles scoring. 1-0 for the good ones.
Normally, there would be a phase during which Magdeburg would get pressed back and out of necessity would concede. This phase duly presented itself but Magdeburg held on and did NOT concede. They liberated themselves form Unterhaching’s pressure and added another goal with 83 minutes gone. It was no other than Bertram, one of those criticised on Monday, who scored. Game over, surely? Ten minutes later it was and it was a deserved win.
There is a hook to this, of course. Was this win just a flash in the pan? Will Magdeburg add another win on Wednesday, away at Duisburg? They are bottom of the table, thus a win is a must yet Magdeburg have not managed two wins in a row since spring 2018. All runs, positive and negative alike come to an end. After that it is another away game at Halle. The Derby – no explanations needed.
An eventful week this has been. A lot has happened and hopefully this week will turn out to be the turning point of the season. At the end of the week, Magdeburg have 18 points from 18 games – finally they have reached at a point per game ratio. This has to increase to 1.44 per game in order to stay up.