Filip Stojilkovic is the man for the second air at SV Darmstadt 98

Filip Stojilkovic is the man for the second air at SV Darmstadt 98

Dhe goal was a small work of art and also a first masterpiece by Filip Stojilkovic. The way he anticipated the pass, shielded the ball at top speed, varied his speed briefly, remained stable despite pressure from the opponent and then tipped the ball past the goalkeeper into the far corner with his outside instep – that satisfied the highest demands. The equalizer scored in the 81st minute against the Hamburger SV not only put the stadium at the Böllenfalltor in a loud rage, it also set another milestone in the fight for promotion.

Now “Lilien” fans could object that you can expect something like that from the new striker star, who is said to have cost almost two million euros and got a four and a half year contract. But this falls short for various reasons. Stojilkovic is only 23 years old, took up his first professional position outside of his native Switzerland at the last minute in the winter transfer window and was new to a team that has been unbeaten in the second division for months.

“A great guy”

That should be more his luck (little pressure, having to deliver goals immediately) than his bad luck (not a regular place for the time being). Would Stojilkovic be too Schalke gone, where they are said to have worked on his commitment, he would have literally been on fire in a hot-blooded environment as the supposed new top scorer with the task of quickly shooting the “Royal Blues” from the bottom of the Bundesliga table. Outcome more than uncertain.

“What we wanted was a striker who would help us immediately and of course also with a perspective. And that’s Filip,” says sports director Carsten Wehlmann to FAS: “He can come to us in peace and he also knows that he has come into a functioning group. He’s a great guy who got involved straight away and was integrated very well by the boys.”

At SV 98, those responsible were under pressure in the winter. It needed a new striker. To respond to the plight of the injured. In order to have at least a backup for Philip Tietz, who is virtually unrivaled in the squad. In order not only to endanger the advancement that has come within reach, not just a personal miscalculation.

However, Stojilkovic was not a hasty commitment, and that speaks for the “lilies”. “We’ve been in contact with him for a year and a half and we’ve persevered. Sometimes it takes several transfer periods before the door opens a little more,” says Wehlmann, the architect of the Darmstadt squad, which has been successful for two years now.

The mother is there too

After passing the comparison with HSV, this Saturday evening (8:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the 2nd Bundesliga, on Sky and Sport1) the next duel against a direct pursuer in the promotion race. Will Stojilkovic make his first start with six points behind Heidenheim in third place? “Completely open,” says Trainer Torsten Lieberknecht.

“Filip is coming along slowly, but we don’t want to overstrain it.” And the Swiss, whose parents are from Serbia and whose mother helped in the first few weeks as a jump-start Darmstadt spent, says: “I would trust myself to do it, but I’m also good from the bench. When I play from the start, I do my best. When I come in, I’ll do my best.”

It has been three short assignments for him so far. If you looked at him in Sandhausen (15 minutes) that he was breaking completely new ground in this country in terms of the style of play, the intensity of the second division and the atmosphere in general, those responsible in Darmstadt saw a lot of what they were hoping for in the home game against Braunschweig (45 minutes). .

Darmstadt's Filip Stojilkovic (centre) is celebrated by his team after the 1-1 draw against Hamburger SV.

Darmstadt’s Filip Stojilkovic (centre) is celebrated by his team after the 1-1 draw against Hamburger SV.

Image: dpa

Stojilkovic’s powerful style, his pace, the ability to fix balls and the necessary ethos when working against the ball. “Indescribable” was the feeling after his goal with a bang against HSV, says the 1.85 meter tall powerhouse.

As a youth he played in Germany for a year, in the U19s of TSG Hoffenheim. At the time, he turned down an offer from the second division “because I didn’t feel ready for it yet,” he said. At FC Wil in the second Swiss division, he trained under former Bundesliga star Ciriaco Sforza, at FC Sion he played together with the aging Italian superstar Mario Balotelli. Juventus’ interest in signing him and loaning him out honored him but didn’t convince him. In Darmstadt it is “still too early for dreams”, he says. “But a lot is possible.”

In a club and a team structure that has given strikers a breeding ground for goals and performance for years. Last season, Tietz and Luca Pfeiffer scored 32 goals together. The year before, Serdar Dursun won the second division gunner’s cannon with 27 goals. Sports director Wehlmann says: “It is noticed which developments players can take in Darmstadt. In a calm, family environment, with our coaching staff and our attacking style of play.”

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