A pre-season friendly saw Magdeburg host Europa League winners Sevilla in Magdeburg. For Magdeburg this was the last test before the season begins while Sevilla are in the middle of their preparation.
It’s been a while since any Magdeburg coach has lifted a European Cup – in fact, it’s almost 50 years – but there was an aura of international football wafting around the ground as Magdeburg hosted Sevilla in a pre-season friendly. It was the last and most meaningful test before the start of the season next week (28 July).
The wait is over – finally
For the fans, it was a relief as the wait since late May was finally over and anticipation as Magdeburg start their 50th anniversary season of the European Cup Win 1973/74.
The game started in the worst possible manner: an injury scare to Baris Atik. He left the pitch for a moment and was checked and continued. He was run over by his teammate Jan-Luca Schuler.
Sevilla was a different class, that much was clear from the start. They pressed high but to little avail. Magdeburg tried but could not find an opening.
Within an instant, the game was alive. It was Schuler who scored after 14 minutes which was somewhat surprising but was taken mercifully in the stride of Magdeburg and their supporters. Ceka received the ball on the right, dummied the defender and crossed, from the ensuing melee, Schuler scored.
Suddenly there was a different Magdeburg as shortly after Bell Bell created something promising.
After the joy came a little setback as Schuler scored an own goal. And while this has in the past led to an implosion, Magdeburg are much more settled mentally and did not give up nor in.
This became apparent just a couple of minutes later when Ceka crossed again but this time his it was not converted. Slowly but steadily, Magdeburg got their momentum going and Sevilla had little to offer. Magdeburg seemed the better team.
Magdeburg resilient then superb – Sevilla with many chances
Yet, Sevilla were not to be written off as they created their chances, yet could not translate them into goals. They had chances almost by the minute. All of them were saved, were offside or simply petered out.
And then out of the blue, Magdeburg made it 2-1. Just as everyone expected a goal from Sevilla, they conceded.
After a period of pressure by Sevilla, the hosts took the lead again. Atik passed deep into the area where Ceka lobbed the keeper and the defense and Bell Bell just needed to score from close range.
Just a couple of minutes later Atik made it three with what must be a contender for goal of the season – 3-1. This was too good to be true.
Until this point, the match was noteworthy for its quality, in the 44th minute the captain of Sevilla, Joan Jordan, collected the first yellow card of the day. The first half was concluded with a corner from Sevilla which brought nothing.
What a first half that was! Sevilla radiated a different class unseen previously in Magdeburg and played according to their reputation and status: a five-time European Cup Winner and a Spanish top side. And thus the match commenced: Sevilla were present from the off and prevented any meaningful chances for Magdeburg. The latter though showed patience and were rewarded after just 14 minutes when Schuler somehow scrambled the ball over the line much to the joy of the 14150 in the stands.
The same would be culpable for Magdeburg to concede their first goal as he was unlucky to divert the ball into the net of Dominik Reimann, Magdeburg‘s keeper.
For the second half, Christian Titz made one change: Ito came on for Atik and immediately he was involved after a Sevilla pass was misplaced and he raced the left flank down to cross for Ceka who hammered the ball over. Would we be in for a goal feast?
Dead rubber in the second half
Sadly, not. There were a few more chances, notably through Herbert Bockhorn who was through on goal and should have squared his pass as Schuler and Ito were ready to let the net bulge. Alas, he went for glory instead and the ball was saved. A minute later Schuler, showed how it is done but his pass was blocked.
Then, a player of some pedigree came on: Ivan Rakitic. His presence did not change the game much. In fact, there was not much to talk about for the remainder of the game, bar one. In the 75th minute, Sevilla were awarded a penalty which Dominik Reimann saved by diving to his left side. The crowd erupted in joy.
No more goals or any actions worthy of mention after that. The flow of the game was disrupted on Magdeburg’s side as coach Christian Titz made numerous substitutions. This, however, did not by implication mean that Sevilla got the upper hand or outplayed Magdeburg – far from it. They limited the damage and demonstrated their skills, yet reaped no rewards. This was a good game nonetheless. It showed that Magdeburg are ready for the season and that Sevilla are not as far progressed in their preparation. However, their class shone through often enough but Magdeburg handled it very well. The win was deserved.