Europe’s Forgotten Clubs:1.FC Magdeburg

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The state of Sachsen-Anhalt in Germany is known as the birthplace of Martin Luther which was the German preacher who launched the protestant reformation which changed the world.However what is less known it is also for its most famous football club 1.FC Magdeburg.The beginnings of football in Magdeburg can be traced to the founding of SV Victoria 96 Magdeburg in 1896 and Cricket Victoria Magdeburg the following year,however both clubs didn’t enjoy much success before and during the period of Nazi Germany.After WWII the eastern part was occupied by the Soviets which reorganized sport on class and worker lines,in the case of Magdeburg that was a story of a successive mergers of clubs.In 1945 the former players of Cricket Victoria and Magdeburger SC formed Sportgrupppe Sudenburg which merged with SG Lemsdorf into BSG Eintracht Sudenburg and again merged with SAG Krupp Gruson in 1950.However that lasted until the next year when it changed into BSG Stahl Magdeburg and then into BSG Motor Mitte Magdeburg in 1952.1.FC Magdeburg in its current form was created in 1965 after the football department of SC Aufbau was broken and a football-only club was created.As SC Aufbau Magdeburg experienced little success besides it was promoted in 1959 to the DDR-Oberliga,however in 1964 it managed to comeback from a two-goal deficit to beat SC Leipzig in the final of the East German Cup 3-2.That also meant an appearence in UEFA Cup Winners Cup in which it drew Galatasaray,Magdeburg made three draws against the Turks until a coin toss in the match in Vienna decided that Galatasaray went into the next round.The next season besides that it finished midtable,SC Aufbau became the first team in Eastern Germany to win back-to-back East German Cups when in the final beat Carl Zeiss Jena 2-1 and in the Cup Winners Cup they made it due to favorable draw to the quarterfinals where they played against at time the defending champions West Ham United which was led by Bobby Moore and Geoffrey Hurst where they suffered a 1-0 loss in London and played a 1-1 draw at home.However after the name change into 1.FC Magdeburg they will not see European football until 1969 after they suffered a relegation from the DDR-Oberliga.Under coach Heinz Krugel Magdeburg returned in the DDR-Oberliga and in 1969 won its third East German Cup but crashed in the round of 16 of Cup Winners Cup against Academica Coimbra.The 1970s was the golden era of 1.FC Magdeburg where under coach Heinz Krugel produced 9 East German internationals which 4 (Sparwasser,Hoffmann,Pommerenke and Seguin) of them were on the East German squad in the 1974 FIFA World Cup,in 1972 it won its first DDR-Oberliga title and it played in the European Champions Cup.After easy victories against the Finnish side TPS Turku they faced the Italian giants Juventus Turin with Zoff,Capello and Bettega on the squad,Magdeburg crashed out with two 1-0 defeats.The next season was the best in clubs history when they won their second East German league title and in Europe they achieved their biggest success ever by winning the Cup Winners Cup in the final by beating AC Milan 2-0 in Rotterdam.

Next season Madgeburg won its third Oberliga title,however due to political reasons and dissagreement with the East German Socialist Party Heinz Krugel was fired as coach of Magdeburg and they would never win an Oberliga title again,but it became successful in the East German Cup which won in 1978 and 1979,but it had less and less success later.While in Europe the only results were two UEFA Cup quarterfinals in 1977 and 1978 which lost to Juventus and PSV Eindhoven.In the 1980s the club due to poor management began to fade away besides in competed in the UEFA Cup but without any success crashing out in the first rounds against respectable opposition like Torino,Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Monchenglabach.Even worse situation came after the fall of Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany when it missed places for the Bundesliga and even for the 2.Bundesliga,Magdeburg was forced to compete in the third tier of German football and in the 2000s due to financial mismagement the club was on the brink of bankrupcy and played in the Oberliga which was the fourth tier of German football.However thanks to its loyal fans who donated 1 Million German Marks in just two days and help from two banks,the club managed to financially bounce back.In 2006 they moved to their new stadium the MDCC Arena and began to layout foundations for a promotion in the 3.Liga.1.FC Magdeburg got promoted to the 3.Liga in 2014 after 7 years which meant they would compete in fully professional league for the first time since the reunification of Germany which occured 25 years ago.

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