Anyone who has ever been to Magdeburg’s Bördelandhalle knows the power the fans can unleash there. With irrepressible support, they whip their team forward and stand united behind their club. Even escalating sporting dry spells have not been able to change that – after all, there was nothing to get for the SCM in the Bundesliga for a long time. Until Thursday evening.
There was a mixture of relief and a party atmosphere among the 6449 visitors in the sold-out arena. With the 31:26 (15:15) over the HBW Balingen-Weilstetten, which was threatened with relegation, the team of coach Bennet Wiegert managed an impressive coup: For the first time in 21 years, the club of the native Magdeburg is handball champion again. There are still two game days left, but with 60:4 points, the SCM can no longer be pushed off the top of the table.
However, it was hard work that Wiegert’s men had to do. During the entire first half there was hardly any difference between the first and the 17th in the Bundesliga. Four minutes should elapse before Magdeburg scored their first goal in this groundbreaking game – in handball it’s half an eternity. Then Omar Ingi Magnusson hit the penalty spot to make it 1-1.
However, there was no hello-wake effect. Although the first fans yelled after the 3:1 already “German champion is only the SCM”, but the supposed underdog from Swabia remained quite cool. The hosts never managed to break away by more than two goals, at half time it was 15:15.
Although this one point would have been enough to win the title early, one or the other spectator would have hoped for a little more spectacle. “The handball games are not won in the first half, but I would have preferred two or three more goals,” said club legend Ingolf Wiegert during the half-time break on Sky. That’s why he was a bit nervous, according to coach Bennet’s father. “But it’s normal in a game where there’s so much at stake. After the previous strain and what we experienced with this team in Lisbon, you have to admit that.
There, the SCM had lost the final of the European League in extra time against Benfica on Sunday – possibly the bankruptcy and the short preparation time were more in the bones of some Magdeburg professionals than expected. Because even after the change, it remained tight. Once again, the hosts failed to gain a decisive advantage.
After 50 minutes and a phase with fewer goals, it was 24:24. Then Philipp Weber, Omar Ingi Magnusson and Weber again scored one after the other to make it 27:24. It was the small preliminary decision, because the leader of the table didn’t let this lead be taken away. The rest was party among the players and fans in the Bördelandhalle.
“I’m proud of the boys,” said coach Wiegert after the final whistle. “Today we carried a small backpack with us, but in the end the team solved that too.”
Meanwhile, playmaker Weber announced a long night in Magdeburg: “The city will be torched today, we’ve been waiting for this for 21 years,” he said.