The Lilies are currently bottom of the Bundesliga but are refusing to give up. On the contrary: The remaining games are a matter of honour, "because everybody has already written us off." And Torsten Frings' players have shown bravery and determination in recent weeks – but without positive results. Bayer 04 visit Böllenfalltor on Wednesday night (20.00 CET). Time to check out our opponents.
Since 1990, no other team in the Bundesliga has had less success than SV Darmstadt at this stage of the campaign. They only have 15 points and even if the Lilies win all of the eight remaining matches they would still not reach the magical 40-point mark. After the success story of recent years that started in the Regional League and ended, after two promotions in succession, with the team in Germany's top flight there is little sign of a happy ending this term.
The Lilies have often failed to live up to expectations. If you just took into account the home matches at the Jonathan Heimes Stadium, renamed for this season in memory of a Darmstadt fan and good friend of many of the players, then SVD would not have any worries. All the 15 points gained so far by the team coached by Torsten Frings have been won at home – including the most recent 2-1 win against Mainz 05.
The trump card of last season, of taking chances, appears to have slipped out of Darmstadt's hands. That is clearly demonstrated by the 4-0 defeat at Leipzig at the weekend. After going behind early on, Sidney Sam and Co. had several good opportunities to take the lead but all were missed. Only 29% of clear-cut chances have been taken – the lowest return in the league and nothing in comparison to the 50% strike rate of last season. Back then they had a real poacher in the team in the shape of Sandro Wagner.
Sandro Sirigu laid down a marker in the relegation battle this week by extending his contract to 2019. However, he misses the game against Bayer 04 due to a one-match suspension. It is likely the regular keeper Michael Esser will return between the sticks after recovering from a muscle injury with Daniel Heuer Fernandes having done a sterling job as his deputy in his absence.
"We are bottom and will remain there. Even if we win a couple of games." Keeper Heuer Fernandes succinctly summed up the current position: SVD have nothing more to lose. In the closing stages of the season that could make them dangerous for all opponents. As Heuer Fernandes also said: "The way we've approached the last games is also a matter of honour."
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