Magdeburg and Saarbrücken provided a rare spectacle ⋆ An Old International

Magdeburg and Saarbrücken provided a rare spectacle

Sometimes a good match comes along when you least expect it.

It is one fixture that many have been looking forward to for several reasons: first against third of division three shown live on terrestrial television while Bundesliga 1 and 2 take a break. This is a dream set-up. The only downside are the restrictions regarding the gate figure. Due to corona only 15000 are allowed inside the ground, which equates 50% capacity. Loyal readers will remember that the game in autumn was overshadowed by accusations of racial abuse by former Magdeburg player Dennis Erdmann. The player was banned for eight games as a consequence and has since left the club for the USL championship, the second division of US Soccer. Of course, the residue of this debate is still palpable and will certainly resurface today.

Both teams have continued their fine form from December and rightly find themselves where they are. In their mid-week game Magdeburg have cooly taken apart Duisburg while Saarbrücken have beaten the Dortmund reserves 2-0. A defeat for Magdeburg would not change much in the table, their cushion remains a comfortable nine points to second placed Kaiserslautern. A win would propel Saarbrücken into second place. A home win would only increase the gap and certainly shorten the odds for Magdeburg going up.

Rarely has the third division had a better chance to show its quality during prime time in German television.

Let the game begin!

And boy did they use it! A frantic start to the match saw Magdeburg, true to stereotypes, take the lead within the opening fifteen minutes. A long ball from midfield found the incredibly quick Sirlord Conteh out sprint his opposition player whom he sent the wrong way before calmly passing towards the middle where Baris Atik had time and space to convert into the top left hand corner. It was a dream start and helped to calm the game down slightly.

In the following Saarbrücken woke up from that early shock and more and more took the initiative and created chances. To this point the visitors had more shots on goal than the hosts. It was only a question of time before something countable would come their way. And so it was. After thirty two minutes, Julian Günther-Schmidt attempted a cross towards the centre where Grimaldi lurked. The ball was airborne for quite some time and hit the back of the net without a touch by friend nor foe. At this point it was a deserved goal for Saarbrücken who seemed to be more active than Magdeburg.

The second half commenced like the preceding one: Magdeburg scoring early, this time it was Conteh who ran onto a through ball from Ceka. Who thought this may calm things down a bit was proven wrong. The game remained pacy and frantic. It could have gone either way at any given point. Magdeburg were good going forward, though more on the counter while Saarbrücken had more chances and shots.

The start of the match was frantic and normally proceeding calm down after a while. This was never the case with this game. It was thrilling well into stoppage time.

Saarbrücken once played AC Milan

During the first half the TV commentator indicated that Saarbrücken once played in the European Cup against AC Milan. This may be so but he forgot to add that Magdeburg did actually beat Milan in the 1970s. It is just one example of bias towards the visitors. The other being the pronunciation of Magdeburg.

This was the best the third division could have done in self promotion. An open, free flowing game of two sides playing attacking football. The hosts with two goals against the visitor’s one extended their lead at the top, forcing other clubs to take note for next season.

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

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  • Dr. Christoph Wagner

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