Darmstadt before the away game in Heidenheim

Se since the start of the season, people have spoken of the most spectacular second division of all time. In general, however, the “lilies” are not counted among those forces that are supposed to ensure brilliant moments in this division. The games with the participation of Darmstadt 98 have long been among those with a high entertainment factor. Even in the strong second half of the previous season, there was a lot to do, among other things due to Serdar Dursun’s real goal frenzy.

And in this still young season, the southern Hessians have not yet produced any real boring. Rather, they have – once excluded the first two lost games of the season, because there was hardly any equality of personnel with the opponents due to the Corona outbreak – already had some rousing appearances. Each with a happy ending.

It was 2-2 at Hamburger SV after a sometimes spectacular exchange of blows; there were the two home wins against Ingolstadt (6: 1) and Hanover (4: 0), in which the “lilies” literally ran over their opponents; and last week there was the 1-0 home win against Dynamo Dresden, in which the team impressed with a courageous offensive game despite being long outnumbered. All in all, it’s a start to the season that feels better than the record of three wins, one draw and three defeats documents.

Old-time colleagues

“The way the team landed a well-deserved victory against Dresden was strong. In the end, everything is reduced to the number of points. It doesn’t help us if we say on matchday 12 that we were outnumbered against Dresden from the eighth minute on. So it was an extremely important victory not only in terms of morale, but also in terms of the number of points, ”said sports director Carsten Wehlmann on Thursday of the FAZ

Without the two corona-related zero rounds at the start, the Darmstadt-based company would probably already be in the top third of the table. But what is not can still be in this notoriously narrow league. On this Friday (6.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the 2nd Bundesliga and on Sky), however, the uncomfortable away task at 1. FC Heidenheim has to be mastered. Of nine duels on the Swabian Alb in the past 13 years, however, the “Lilien” have only won one.

Perhaps head coach Torsten Lieberknecht can do something on the personal track against his Heidenheim counterpart Frank Schmidt. Both once played together in the junior national team. But Lieberknecht also speaks of a “naturally difficult game” in Heidenheim.

“Stability in the overall structure”

A key to the turnaround after the depressing start of the season was certainly the re-engagement of Klaus Gjasula, who was sidelined at HSV. Such a stubborn tower in the defensive midfield, which replaces the migrated Victor Palsson almost 1: 1, was needed by the Darmstadt team. “He is good for us, the way he is as a guy and the way he plays. And not only in terms of duel strength, but also in terms of football, ”said Wehlmann.

Great support in the defensive midfield of Darmstadt: newcomer Klaus Gjasula as a stubborn tower.


Great support in the defensive midfield of Darmstadt: newcomer Klaus Gjasula as a stubborn tower.
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Image: dpa

Nemanja Celic, who also had to deal with a league change but also a quarantine period, was also committed to the central midfield from Austria. “The overall structure has got even more stability,” said sports director Wehlmann.

Which also has to do with the attitude that Coach Lieberknecht tries to impart to the ensemble. The 48-year-old demands that his professionals take risks in a playful way. Conversely, the resulting ball losses will not be chalked up to the players as a mistake.

Lieberknecht was impressed by the performance of the Dresden game. “The game showed that the boys do everything for the club to win games. That’s the most important thing to me, ”he said. “The mood here is very targeted, the boys are highly motivated.”

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