Magdeburg vs Rostock is one of a few derbies of the former DDR Oberliga. Both find themselves at opposite ends of the table and the clash could destine either club’s fate this season.
For some months now Magdeburg fans must have a deja vu. Not at their own club, but at the Baltic Sea where Hansa Rostock resemble the squad Magdeburg had for the 2017/18 season when they won promotion to Bundesliga 2 for the first time in their history.
Back then Magdeburg were simply unstoppable in the league, oozed confidence and simply deserved to go up. From then on, live became difficult, very difficult indeed. The squad was not good enough and lacked some cleverness. Games against Regensburg, in which Magdeburg were 2-1 up with only injury time to play and still lost, shall stand as example here. The story is well known: in November 2018 the second most successful in the club’s history, Jens Härtel, was sacked. His successor, Michael Oenning could not stop the decline and the successive relegation. What followed was an exodus of players but also an influx of new players deemed capable of playing well and keeping the club away from the relegation zone. This worked as long as the club directors kept the coach, then Stefan Krämer. In January 2020 the disaster became obvious. The team was disjointed and lacked coherence. The result was another relegation battle after the corona break in spring.
At the same time former players like Butzen moved to Rostock, and little by little more of the squads of 2016/17 and 2017/18 followed: Jan Löhmannsröben, Tobias Schwede, Philip Türpitz, Björn Rother and Manuel Farona-Poulido. That is six players reunited with their former coach Jens Härtel and his assistant, Ronny Thielemann. By coincidence, the team have a real chance to get promoted this year (2021).
It is therefore with some envy and romantic feelings that Magdeburg supporters look to the coast. Back to reality, it raises the question, if Härtel really had lost the dressing room in 2018 as it was rumoured during the weeks before his dismissal, why have so many re-joined him?
The past may not be over yet, the game in April 2021 could see Magdeburg make another step towards safety if they win and their form suggests at least a point. A Hansa win could cement their second spot in the table and could push Magdeburg back underneath the relegation line should results in other matches not go their way.Good writing does not come by chance, so consider this: