Manuel Veth –
Dynamo Dresden vs Magdeburg – Saturday, March 16, 12:00GMT/13:00CET – Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion, Dresden, Germany
It is the so-called Ost-Klassiker. A matchup between two of East Germany’s most traditional clubs. On the one side, you have a Dynamo Dresden side that at times dominated the football of the former German Democratic Republic and won the East German title on eight different occasions.
On the other side are 1.FC Magdeburg three times winner of the former DDR Oberliga and the only club from the former GDR to win a European trophy — the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1974. It is that shared East German past and the fight against many titles that have made the clubs strong rivals, a rivalry that lasts to the present day.
One of the biggest rivalries in East German football the game at the 30,500 seat Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion has been sold out for weeks. The reality at the moment, however, is not as glorious as the past. Both clubs are, in fact, stuck in the Bundesliga 2 relegation battle this season.
For Dynamo Dresden have not won a game in six matches, which threatens to kill any sense of hype that came after the hiring of 39-year-old head coach Cristian Fiél. As a result, Dynamo Dresden have dropped to 14th-place in the Bundesliga standings and with 27 points only have a six-point gap remaining to the relegation zone.
“Looking at the table needs to be a motivation and not tricker a mental block,” defender Jannis Nikolaou said this week. Nikolaou, in general, is an interesting personality in the Dynamo Dresden side. Signed as a midfielder Fiél has moved the former 1.FC Köln player back into a centre-back position. “I like having the game in front of me,” Nikolaou explained.
Moving Nikolaou was not the only change Fiél made before the important derby against Magdeburg. Athletic trainer Philippe Hasler was shown the door as Dynamo struggled with fitness all season. It is an odd decision this late in the season but highlights that the club is doing everything ahead of the Ost-Klassiker to get Dynamo Dresden going again.
For Magdeburg fans, in the meantime, this is one of the biggest games of the season both on and off the field. “When the team travels to Dresden then I expect that they know what that means. It isn’t just a league game against Sandhausen or Heidenheim. It is Dynamo Dresden — it means so much more,” Matthias Niedung the fan representative on the Magdeburg board told the FCM-Podcast Neues vom Krügel-Platz.
But it is not just the rivalry that makes this game a must win for Magdeburg, der FCM have recently lost back to back matches against Duisburg and Sandhausen, bringing the club within one point of the relegation/playoff spot and just two points clear of a direct relegation spot.
In other words, the Ost-Klassiker that was once about DDR-Pokale and Oberliga titles is a bitter relegation battle for Magdeburg. Good news are that former Bundesliga stars Aleksandar Ignjovski and Jan Kirchhoff are likely to be fit for the match. Those two, in particular, are difficult to replace as the match against Sandhausen highlighted. But previous games usually do not matter in derbies anyhow, here the mentality on the pitch will make the difference and with both sides having to play for everything this will be a heated affair both on and off the pitch, hopefully with lots of goals.
Dynamo Dresden vs Magdeburg – Players to look out for:
Moussa Koné #14 – Dynamo Dresden
Moussa Koné is a fascinating player to watch. The 22-year-old native of Dakar, Senegal, is extremely fast and at the same time can make quick turns that can twist the legs of defenders into knots. Signed for €2.16 million from FC Zürich in January 2018 Koné has managed nine goals and six assists in 22 games for Dynamo Dresden. A U-20 national team player of Senegal there are high hopes in the Elbmetropole that Koné could one day provide Dynamo with a financial windfall that would allow the club to slowly continue to grow back into a club that can once again compete for a spot in the Bundesliga.
Aleksandar Ignjovski #18 – 1.FC Magdeburg
Bundesliga football is something Aleksandar Ignjovski knows well. The12 times Serbian national team player moved to Germany in 2009 joining 1860 Munich. There his immense talent was quickly apparent and defensive midfielder moved on in 2011 joining Werder Bremen, then Eintracht Frankfurt and SC Freiburg. Overall, Ignjovski managed 117 Bundesliga games and it is sometimes hard to remember that he is still only 28. But a long career in the Bundesliga was to often interrupted by injuries and Ignjovski was forced to drop down a level joining Magdeburg last summer. Injuries are still a problem but on his day Ignjovski has the ability to show his immense talent.
Dynamo Dresden vs Magdeburg – Match Stats
- This will be the 81st matchup between the two giants of the former GDR. There have been 67 recorded competitive fixtures, and Dynamo Dresden’s record against Magdeburg is W32 D16 L19.
- Dynamo Dresden are a tough team to play against, the club from the Sport Gemeinschaft has already collected 55 yellow cards this season.
- Dynamo Dresden are undefeated against Magdeburg in four games: W2 D2 Magdeburg’s last victory dates back to August 19, 2007, when they defeated Dynamo Dresden in the Regionalliga Nord (third division at the time) 1-0.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dynamo Dresden vs Magdeburg – 2-2
Dynamo Dresden vs Magdeburg – Lineups
Schubert – Wahlqvist, J. Müller, Nikolaou, Kreuzer – Burnic – Atik, Benatelli, Ebert, Duljević – Koné
Head Coach: Christian Fiel
Loria – Ignjovski, Erdmann, Müller, Perthel – Kirchhoff – Bülter, Laprevotte, Niemeyer – Türpitz
Head Coach: Michael Oenning
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.