UPDATED FOR 2023-24 - AUGUST 2023
Founded: Dec 22, 1965
Club Members: 10,200
Nickname: FCM, Der Club
Coach: Christian Titz
Captain: Amara Condé
DDR Oberliga Champions: 3
3.Liga Champions: 2
Regionalliga Nordost: 1
European Cup Winners Cup: 1
Landespokal Sachsen-Anhalt Winner: 11
Erich Mielke, the infamous head of the Stasi , once said of football in East Germany: "Football success will highlight even more clearly the superiority of our socialist order in the area of sport" and it was the political desire for more competitive football clubs in East Germany that led to 1.FC Magdeburg being founded on 22nd December 1965 - one of the 10 so-called Schwerpunktclubs ('focus clubs') given free reign to cherry pick the best players the country had to offer.
Along with SG Dynamo Dresden, the club initially dominated the East German game winning three DDR-Liga titles, seven FDGB-Pokal cups and, despite being complete underdogs, became the only East German side to win a major European title when an own goal by Enrico Lanzi and a tight angled finish by Wolfgang Seguin saw them beat Italian giants AC Milan in Rotterdam to lift the 1974 European Cup Winners Cup.
Magdeburg's success owed much to head coach Heinz Krügel who built a squad made up entirely of young local talent and their 1972 DDR-Liga triumph was won with a squad whose average age of just 22 made them the youngest to ever do so. Despite his legendary status at the club however, Krügel's decade at the forefront of East German football came to an end in 1976 following numerous displays of 'non-conformity' including a rumoured refusal to use Stasi -harvested information about Bayern München during a 1974 European Cup tie in Magdeburg. Being 'politically unreliable' didn't sit well with the local branch of the ruling communist party and to add insult to injury he was also banned from coaching altogether by the East German FA - an exclusion that remained in place until the German FA lifted it in 1996.
After Krügel's departure, Magdeburg initially remained a force as new coach Klaus Urbanczyk followed his predecessor's lead by promoting academy players to the first team and the club continued to play in Europe every season with the likes of Juventus, Videoton and Lens visiting the Ernst Grube Stadion. In the 1977-78 UEFA Cup, Magdeburg became the first club to beat FC Schalke 04 at the Parkstadion in European competition before bowing out at the quarter-final stage against eventual winners PSV Eindhoven. Domestically, more silverware was added to the trophy cabinet with successive FDGB-Pokal final wins over SG Dynamo Dresden in 1978 and against BFC Dynamo a year later as FCM remained the team to beat in East Germany.
During the 1980s however the club's fortunes began to fall away along with attendances as the rise of hooliganism and widespread corruption destabilised the once-great league. Urbanczyk left in 1982 and although another FDGB-Pokal was lifted a year later, the glory days were over as Magdeburg struggled to maintain their position as one of East Germany's top sides. Things didn't improve in the upheaval following reunification either as a number of key players and staff seized the opportunity to head for better-paid gigs in the west. Weakened by these departures Magdeburg missed the cut for entry to the professional leagues as clubs from the former GDR were integrated into the restructured German football pyramid. By 1991 therefore, just 18 years after their European triumph, Magdeburg began life in the amateur leagues of German football - a period in the club's history that became known amongst fans as "Generation Amatuerfußbal ". The club did come close to bringing professional football back to Magdeburg in 1994 - but instead of celebrating promotion from the Regionalliga on what was the 20th anniversary of the Cup Winners Cup triumph, they managed to miss not one, but two penalties in a 1-2 home defeat against VfB Lichterfelde and crashed out of the title race.
Struggles off the pitch began to mirror those on it as years of overspending brought the club to the brink of financial disaster and they were placed in administration in 2002 before being demoted by the German FA to the fourth-tier Oberliga Nordost-Süd division. All but two players left the club forcing Magdeburg to return to the foundations laid by Krügel and Urbanczyk by developing young, local talent for the first team. Years went by and although the club moved into their new MDCC Arena home in 2006 there wasn't much else for Magdeburg's ultra fan group, Block U, to shout about as success continued to elude them. They came close again to finally achieving promotion in 2007, when needing only 3 points from the final two Regionalliga Nord games to secure promotion to Bundesliga.2, they managed to finish third in a two-horse race coming in behind FC St. Pauli and VfL Osnabrück to miss out again. The following season saw the creation of the 3.Liga as the lowest professional division in Germany and as part of the league restructure a 10th place finish or better would have been enough to see FCM 'promoted'. Despite starting the season as many people's favourites to actually win the league, they ended up finishing in a lowly 11th position, tied with Eintracht Braunschweig but a couple of goals short of that elusive 10th place.
Magdeburg had to wait another seven years before finally making the step up to professional football, and in 2018 won promotion to Bundesliga.2 before suffering an immediate relegation after a poor run of form in the Rückunde saw late goals turn wins into draws and draws into defeats. Today, the Blau-Weissen are back in Bundesliga.2 but only after a new Generation Amatuerfußbal seemed on the cards when they narrowly avoided dropping into the Regionalliga in 2021.
German culture has a word that refers to the feeling of nostalgia for life in the bygone era of the GDR. It's called Ostalgie ("nostalgia for the East"). And, as their club struggle with the transition from communism to capitalism, it's fair to say that Magdeburg fans probably experience Ostalgie more than most as they long for a return to the golden years of the 1970s and that historic night in Rotterdam.
Ground Name: MDCC Arena
Architect: Schröder Schulte-Ladbeck
Built: 2005 - 2006
Year Opened: 2006
Capacity: 30,098 (14,500 standing)
Executive Boxes: 15
Executive Seats: 180
Business Seats: 750
Media Seats: 77
Wheelchair Spaces: 64
Construction Costs: €30.9m
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Floodlights: 1,800 lux
LED Video Screens: 30m² x 2
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Ernst-Grube-Stadion (1965 - 2006)
Stadion Magdeburg (2006 - 2009)
MDCC Arena (2009 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Opened on the 10th December 2006 in a grand ceremony attended by Der Kaiser himself, Franz Beckenbauer, the football-only MDCC Arena was built on the site of Magdeburg's historic former Ernst Grube Stadion home which had been allowed to fall into disrepair following German reunification.
Named after a local telecoms provider, like many new build grounds it's nothing out of the ordinary and is one of the single tier, fully covered box-shaped variety with a bank of 15 obligatory VIP boxes dominating the main stand. The floodlights are mounted on the roof and a couple of large video screens at either end complete the look of the stadium.
Magdeburg's home end is the imaginatively named Nordtribüne (North Stand), whilst the away support can be found in the south-east corner of the stadium.
The MDCC Arena was nearly closed to fans in 2016 after surveys showed that the stadium's structure became dangerously unstable as fans rhythmically bounced up and down during a match against Hansa Rostock. After fans agreed not to jump in unison during matches until a long-term solution was found, a €10.7 million programme of works started in 2019 to install additional steel supports under the stands to comply with safety requirements. In addition, all the seats in the Nordtribüne were removed to create a vast terrace and increase capacity to 30,098.
2022-2023: 22,602 (Bundesliga.2)
2021-2022: 16,572 (3.Liga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 11,531 (3.Liga) *
2018-2019: 20,225 (Bundesliga.2)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
The club website and online ticket shop are both in German only but fortunately for non-German speakers, Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking tickets a very straightforward process. Through the club's ticketing partner Eventim you can have your tickets sent to your smartphone or made available as a standard Print@Home option. Actual match tickets (remember those!?) can also be bought by visiting the 1.FCM FanShop (Breite Weg 178, 39104 Magdeburg; 11am-7pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm, Sat; tel: +49 (0)391 99017080) or the Volksstimme Service Centre (Goldschmiedebrücke 15-17, 39104 Magdeburg)
in the city centre.
Despite drawing some of the biggest crowds outside the Bundesliga (averaging about 20,000 pre-COVID), Magdeburg very rarely sell out matches. So, unless they're up against Hallescher FC to decide Saxony-Anhalt supremacy or renewing DDR-Liga rivalries with old sparring partners FC Hansa Rostock, getting hold of a ticket for anywhere in the ground generally isn't an issue.
Roughly speaking, for adults, tickets range from €27.50 - €44.50 for seats, and it's €17 to join the Block U ultras on the terraces. Discounts are available for people with disabilities, unemployed, students, club members etc and children (aged 7-14) will cost their parents €7.50 for anywhere in the ground. Family tickets in the Familienblock (Blocks 18 and 20) are also available and it's €37 (1 adult, 1 child), €40.50 (1 adult, 2 children), €62 (2 adults, 1 child) or €68 (2 adults, 2 children). Even smaller people (aged 0-6) can buy 'lap cards' for €1 although this doesn't entitle them to a seat of their own and, as the name suggests, they must sit on their parent's lap.
The stadium box offices open two hours before kick-off but there's a surcharge of €2.50 for anyone wanting to keep things traditional and buy a ticket on a matchday.
Information about visiting the MDCC Arena for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Heinz Krügel Platz 1
If you're coming in your car, the simplest advice is to put the stadium address (see left) in your Sat-Nav and follow its guidance. There are a number of car parks at the ground although you do have to pay to use them. You'll find one at Gübser Weg, and another at Friedrich Ebert Straße 68. Ater the game, the Magdeburg police turn Gübser Weg, Friedrich Ebert Straße and Georg Heidler Straße into an
Einbahnstraße (one way street) to create two lanes of traffic so that fans can get away from the MDCC Arena in double quick time.
The MDCC Arena can be reached from the Allee-Center stop (on Ernst Reuter Allee) in the city centre with tram line 6 (Direction: Herrenkrug) and jump out at the third stop Berliner Chaussee / Arenen. From there it's a short walk to the stadium - just follow the crowd. Your match ticket permits you to ride around on the Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe (MVB) transport network from three hours either side of the the game.
The stadium is about two miles from the centre of Magdeburg. From the Hauptbahnhof, go straight until you come to the junction with Otto von Guericke Straße. Turn left and follow this road until you come to a main junction. Turn right and you're now on Ernst Reuter Allee. Follow this road over three bridges as you cross the Elbe, Zollelbe and Alte Elbe rivers. After the third bridge, head onto Brückstraße and continue until you pass the GETEC Arena. Take a right here and then you'll see the stadium on your left hand side. Alternatively, Google Maps will help you plan the route.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
1.FCM FanShop (Breite Weg 178, 39104 Magdeburg; 11am-7pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm, Sat; tel: +49 (0)391 99017080)
You can give yourself motion sickness by viewing the 360° Virtual Tour of the stadium here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
Many fans take advantage of the wider choice of options available in the centre of Magdeburg before making their way to the MDCC Arena. There are however numerous food and drink outlets in and around the stadium offering the usual German football fayre of beer, bratwurst, frikadellen etc.
Be warned though, once inside you'll have to pay for your stadium sausage and half litre of Wernesgrüner using a pre-payment card which you can get from:
• Main entrance next to the guest bus parking lot
• Opposite the Entrance South/VIP Entrance
• next to Kiosk 3 on Block 10
• Visitor Box Office North 1 (North West)
The cards are 'free' but you will have to pay a €2 deposit and then top it up with plastic money in €10, €20 or €50 increments. And because clubs don't make it easy for fans to convert unused credit back to real cash, we gave up and added €6 to Magdeburg's 'slumber penny' fund.
To save you any stadium card hassle though, payment can also be made using credit and debit cards or via Apple Pay, Google Pay etc on smartphones.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Union Berlin, RB Leipzig, VfL Wolfsburg
BUNDESLIGA 2: Eintracht Braunschweig, FC Hansa Rostock, FC St. Pauli, Hamburger SV, Hannover 96, Hertha BSC
3.LIGA: FC Erzgebirge Aue, Hallescher FC, SG Dynamo Dresden, VfL Lübeck