Bundesliga 2023/24 club preview: SV Darmstadt

Last Season: 2nd (2.Bundesliga)

Coach: Torsten Lieberknecht

Squad Valuation: €27.35m

Stadium: Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor  (17,500)

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After a six-year absence Darmstadt are back in the Bundesliga and the serious business of staying there begins. The Lilien largely dominated the 2.Bundesliga last season, but a nervy end to the season saw them only clinch promotion on the penultimate matchday and ultimately get pipped to the Meisterschale by Heidenheim. They had the best defensive record in the league and were amongst the favourites to go up throughout the whole season.

They will now however have to get used to the role of underdogs as they look to avoid the fate endured by Schalke last season when the Königsblauen were instantly relegated. They will take more heart from the example of Werder Bremen, whose approach saw them safely ensconced in the second half of the table.

They have lost last season’s 12-goal top scorer Phillip Tietz to Augsburg, but have largely kept the rump of the squad that earned promotion. English striker Fraser Hornby has been signed from French side Reims after spending last season on loan at Oostende, while Christoph Klarer has been signed from Fortuna Düsseldorf to strengthen the defence.

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Coach Torsten Lieberknecht has been here before after he led Eintracht Braunschweig into the Bundesliga back in 2013. They finished bottom of the table and were duly relegated so he will be looking to put the harsh lessons learnt a decade ago to good use.

Their home form will be key (as VfL Bochum showed last season) and they will look to use their compact  Böllenfalltor  stadium to their advantage. Darmstadt only lost once at home last season and picking up as many points on their own patch will be vital. As underdogs they have nothing to lose really as many people will already be predicting a bottom three finish. Their job is now to prove the doubters wrong.

Major signings: Christoph Klarer (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Fraser Hornby (Stade Reims), Matej Maglica (VfB Stuttgart loan), Andreas Müller FC Magdeburg), Fabian Nürnberger (Nürnberg)

Major departures: Phillip Tietz (Augsburg), Patric Pfeiffer (Augsburg)

Possible line-up:

Youngster to watch: Fabio Torsiello

The 18-year-old German/ Italian striker made a handful of brief substitute appearances last season and despite interest from a number of clubs, Darmstadt are keen to keep hold of him and hopefully use him increasingly in the Bundesliga. His 19-year-old teammate Clemens Riedel will act as a role model with the teenage fullback breaking into the first-team last season and making 19 appearances with nine as a starter.

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball