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Ascension dream lives! Darmstadt wins through the 2nd league

When the contract between SV Darmstadt 98 and Torsten Lieberknecht was wrapped up last summer, the coach sent his closest confidants the link to the club anthem on their cell phones.

It starts with “The sun is shining” and consists of many “Oh lilies”, “ole, ole, ola” and of course “Tor, Tor, Tor!”. Alberto Colucci’s cheerful melody could soon be heard again in the Bundesliga. Lieberknecht’s team is surprisingly at the top of league two: on the pitch in the sun.

Lilien fans say: It is the most beautiful club song in the German professional business. And when it comes to romantic football, the people of Darmstadt know their way around. Between 2013 and 2015, the southern Hesse marched through from the 3rd to the 1st league – the celebrations lasted for days.

Suddenly everyone knew this passionately fighting team: trainer Dirk Schuster, the former Grätscher. A striker with the strange name Dominik Straw-Engel, whose employer later sold Straw Angels at the Christmas market with great sales. A captain named Aytac Sulu who threw himself at everyone on the pitch. A wing racer named Marcel Heller, to whom a punk band dedicated the song “Heller is faster”. And: “The most frightening beard in German football”, as “Die Welt” once wrote about the man with the mighty mat: attacker Marco “Toni” Sailer.

Darmstadt 98 is a real treasure trove for nostalgics, but the present also shines: in a league with many big names such as FC Schalke 04, Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen or 1. FC Nürnberg, the lilies are enthroned before the top game on Sunday (1.30 p.m. / Sky ) against HSV above all. “We want to be there for as long as we can and win our games,” said Tobias Kempe.

Only Kempe (32) and Fabian Holland (31) are still there from the wild group. “The team is different,” said midfielder Kempe. “But we have the same team spirit. You can just feel that.” Head coach Lieberknecht (previously MSV Duisburg and Eintracht Braunschweig) played a large part in this. Kempe: “Torsten is a witch.”

However, two of the team stand out: Phillip Tietz and Luca Pfeifer each scored twelve goals. The courageous offensive spirit of the Darmstadt team is unmistakable, 45 goals are the best in the league. In the first division under Schuster, Darmstadt sought salvation more on the defensive.

A lot has changed at Böllenfalltor, the club didn’t want to become a museum. “We have formulated a new mission statement, it is very clear that we want to challenge the top places in the second division in the future. But that is a three- to five-year plan,” said President Rüdiger Fritsch in an hr interview.

In the past, when Darmstadt with its old-fashioned ambience in the top league aroused “basic instincts”, as the club manager once put it, the mission statement was: “We lilies. Traditionally different.” Today: “We lilies.” The remodeling of the Merck Stadium was a necessity. If the grandstand is also finished this summer, it will hold 18,600 spectators.

FC Bayern used to sit in a dressing room like in the state league. “The stinky basement where Pep Guardiola had to change was only found in Darmstadt,” Fritsch recalled. The accompanying music is unchanged – “Oh lilies, oh lilies, oh lilies” sounds forever and ever through the arena. After the win against FC St. Pauli, the celebrated Lieberknecht stood in front of the fans with tears in his eyes as everyone sang the anthem. “It’s a brutally positive song,” enthused the 48-year-old.

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