Slapstick Pinball Wizardry ⋆ An Old International

Slapstick Pinball Wizardry

Magdeburg supporters will be smiling this week as their team cemented the top spot in the table, going into the second leg of the season with 37 points from 17 games and a goal difference of +19. The latest game, away at TSV 1860 Munich however, had the aura of a farce. Not so much because of the defending of the hosts was awful, rather their slapstick attempts to defend.


Take the first goal. A long ball from around the half way line, launched by Alexander Bittroff – the ball is airborne for an eternity and hits a Munich defender Moll on the heel or calf. Obviously, the man in question was not looking towards the ball – wherever he had his gaze fixed, it was not on the ball and thus he will hardly be a contender for the next round of “spot the ball”. From the heel or calf the ball directly diverted into the path of the Magdeburg player Connor Krempicki who speculatively had continued his run into the box. On the volley he dryly netted into the bottom right hand corner from the keeper’s perspective. 1-0 after just five minutes. This season Magdeburg are champions of early goals: already eight goals they have marked within the opening quarter of an hour.

However, this was only the beginning. Remember Belo Horizonte and the World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany in 2014? what followed had similar proportions that heavy Munich were falling apart.

In the following Munich had a penalty awarded but missed or rather Reimann, the Magdeburg keeper guessed correctly and diverted the ball out for a corner. It is one of those “what-if”-moments of counterfactual historiography. What HAD happened next was a feast for Magdeburg supporter, alas they were absent due to new corona regulations.

Magdeburg taking it easy: 5-0 at half-time

With fifteen minutes gone, Magdeburg doubled their lead as Andreas Müller had all the time in the world to connect with a loose ball after a corner, control it and go past one Munich player and finish into the bottom left corner. That was easy, TOO easy, but Magdeburg said thank you with a huge smile. Had the penalty been a crucial moment, this was another. What followed was a collapse.

Just two minutes later, Krempicki made it three as he waltzed through four FOUR Munich defenders or rather cones, and once more kept his cool and finished. Magdeburg slowed down and it took until the 29th minute for another goal to come. Once again it had the nature of pinball or flipper. Baris Atik took the ball forward – he has had acres of space ahead of him, his square pass did not reach its intended target but was played forward to Schuler – who was in an offside position but played onside by the pass of the Munich defender. Schule made it 4-0 after just half an hour. Magdeburg really took it easy now as almost another fifteen minutes elapsed before the goal tally was increased. This time from the spot by none other than Baris Atik.

In the second half the visitors took the foot off the gas and let Munich participate and duly let them score. There will be discussions about this.

Admonishing Words

Despite the joy it must be clear that these sort of goals will not come again this easy in Bundesliga 2 should Magdeburg get promoted in spring 2022. It looks very likely that this may be the case. Yet, the lightness how these goals came about will be missed by its absence. The first goal must be seen as coincidence, the fourth incompetence. To take this for granted would be foolish. Magdeburg appear to have learned their lesson from 2018/19 and so far no one even speaks brazenly or openly about promotion, though this is something that seems inevitable. Magdeburg are in top form, their morale is intact, the team oozes confidence despite the recent setback of a corona break. The game against Zwickau will be played on December 15, 2021. In the past Magdeburg have not looked too good against the swans though should they win, who the hell will stop them but themselves?

Good writing does not come by chance, so consider this:

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