A few weeks ago, at the game against table leaders RB Leipzig, the fans of SC Paderborn unrolled a 50-meter-long banner that read: “No star on the field, never big money, so you stay the most beautiful in the world.” It was a declaration of love to my own club and a message to the football world out there with all their heroes on the field and the big money. In the last table position in the Bundesliga, an almost Buddhist frugality thrives in the East Westphalia. Should Paderborn have to return to the second division in May, they would bravely accept it. The descent would be worse if Arminia from the 35 kilometers away Bielefeld also rose to the Bundesliga.
Martin Przondziono, 50, is sports director at SC Paderborn and is not yet discouraged from being five points behind in third last place. “We have a real chance of relegation,” he says, “giving up is not an option.” Of 18 games, the Paderborn team won only three and lost twelve. But after almost every defeat, they were praised by the opposing coach for their courageous pressing and their quick switching game. In the first half they lost against the Champions League participants Leipzig, Munich and Leverkusen with only one goal difference, in Dortmund they even played 3: 3 and played so well in the 3: 0 lead in the first half, that they could hardly believe it themselves. The Dortmund staff budget is more than ten times as high as that of the SC with 20 million euros.
Przondziono is partly responsible for the fact that the thing with the missing stars and the small money has already improved a bit. Paderborner Fußball-GmbH has been debt-free for the first time since November, and it will have equity of almost eight million euros in summer. And there could even be a few billionaires in the summer if the club sells one or the other of those players who have at least become secret stars: striker Meli striker, midfielder Sebastian Vasiliadis or center-backs Sebastian Schonlau and Luca Kilian , They have all individually proven their suitability for the Bundesliga, but could also use a more relaxed team around them. Paderborn’s problem is the inexperience of the collective.
The role model is SC Freiburg – in good times and in bad
And so they have an ambivalent feeling: The SCP is strengthening its account and its image this season, but it is still bottom of the table and could relegate again at the end of its second Bundesliga season for the second time. “We knew beforehand that this could happen,” says Przondziono, who inherited Markus Krösche, who joined RB Leipzig in the summer. Przondziono used to be chief scout at 1. FC Nürnberg and Hannover 96. The Lower Saxony did not see a Paderborn descent as an end, but as a transition to a future in which one would try with the same values, the same football and the same passion, To establish Paderborn as one of the 36 best teams in Germany.
“That is why,” says Przondziono, “we are keeping calm now and are not developing any action. We are laying the foundation for the coming years with this Bundesliga season and we all agree that we do not want to take any risks.” Two additions were signed in the winter period: Icelandic international Samuel Fridjonsson and home striker Dennis Srbeny. Perhaps there won’t be any more new ones.
According to reports, there is no doubt about coach Steffen Baumgart: “A coach never gets a guarantee,” says Przondziono, “but we like to say that SC Freiburg is a bit of our role model. Of course, he shouldn’t do that either be in the good times. ” Paderborn’s sports director is alluding to the fact that Freiburg retained the coach Christian Streich after relegation in 2015, rose directly with him and is currently at the forefront in the Bundesliga.
Therefore, they don’t want to repeat their mistakes from 2015 in Paderborn when they relegated with Freiburg and the team structure broke apart so that they then crashed into the third and almost even the fourth division. If Paderborn should dismount, they want to continue on their way undeterred: “We would not change our football, we do not think in the short term, but in the future,” says Przondziono, who was warm to the heart with the banner in the home game against Leipzig: “That’s how I see ours Club, “he says,” this solidarity makes us strong. “