Darmstadt 98 back on track thanks to victory against Kaiserslautern
Nfter an evening that, due to the atmosphere in the stadium, was ready for a Bundesliga match and brought the “lilies” even closer to the first division, there was a lot of talk about “answers” and “reactions”. Torsten Lieberknecht, coach of SV Darmstadt 98, gave successively a “good”, a “right” and a “mental” answer. And everyone in the “Lilies” camp admitted that the convincing 2-0 win against 1. FC Kaiserslautern on Saturday evening was based on a rather unpleasant encounter the previous Saturday evening.
After the return trip from Bielefeld, they did not say goodbye as usual, but Lieberknecht asked for a discussion. In the kitchen wing of the new functional building at Böllenfalltor. After a weak performance in Heidenheim (0:1) and a weak performance in Bielefeld (1:3), the recipe for success that had apparently been lost, which has anchored the southern Hesse at the top of the second division since mid-October, was sought. A “monologue” from him, as Lieberknecht says, was followed by a discussion by the team without the eyes and ears of the coaching staff. And then a week of exercise with plenty of intensity. With the result that the 1. FCK could not resist the force, the pressure and the class of the “lilies” for long.
And it was played on, edited and defeated in the same way as many visitors to the Böllenfalltor have experienced. The last Darmstadt home defeat was more than 330 days ago and dates back to the previous season (2:5 against Schalke), when promotion was lost in the final spurt. For the fight for promotion in this round, which amounts to a three-way duel with the Heidenheimers and the Hamburgers, the southern Hessians are now in the running with 52 points.
With how much vehemence the SVD professionals went to work suggests that the 14-day weak phase will ultimately remain an episode that can be overcome. The way they pushed the Lauterers up with full confidence in their abilities despite the negative experiences before and met them with playful and tactical superiority speaks for their intact self-confidence. A good move by Lieberknecht was to order top scorer Phillip Tietz back a little and use the fast, agile strikers Filip Stojilkovic and Braydon Manu from the tenth position.
The goal to make it 2-0 came from a “world-class ball from Tietz”, as Stojilkovic noted. The winter new signing used his explosiveness in the attack and needed a bit of luck in front of goal to put the ball in the goal on the second try (43′). Previously, the Swiss had scored the opening goal after a corner with his head – because he was already in league with luck after being deflected – (36′). “We showed what a good team we are,” said Stojilkovic.
The usual reliable defender Christoph Zimmermann spoke of a positive change in “mental spirit and passion” compared to the disappointment in Bielefeld, with which one could now “get used to winning again”. A significantly higher win against the newly promoted team would have been possible in order to be able to shine on goal difference in the promotion fight – but this would only have been a beauty prize on top.
It was a win for the Darmstadt team – it could become a permanent fixture – as Fabian Holland and Marvin Mehlem acted together in central defensive midfield. The trained left-back Holland and the otherwise rather free-spirited offensive player Mehlem played stably and consistently as a strong playing and fighting centre-line. The long-awaited return of right-back Matthias Bader (testicular surgery) brought an enormous leap in quality. And the fact that other previously absent players such as Manu (70 minutes), Müller (90), Gjasula (21) and Seydel (10) can play again was good news for the “Lilien” on an evening with Bundesliga flair at the Böllenfalltor .