Bundesliga Hinrunde report card: SV Darmstadt

2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. First up we run the rule over last season’s 2.Bundesliga runners-up Darmstadt.

The story so far

Well nobody said it was going to be easy and the struggles forecast for promoted side Darmstadt have come to pass with die Lilien anchored to the bottom of the Bundesliga table going into the mid-season interval. After a six-year absence from the top flight, they are finding life extremely tough back amongst the big boys and the only redeeming feature to hold onto is the fact that the teams directly above them are not pulling ahead too much and the opportunity to overhaul them in the Rückrunde still remains.

Torsten Lieberknecht’s side would have been hoping for a positive start to build upon the promotion euphoria, but three successive defeats at the start of the season with ten goals conceded put paid to that. A 3-3 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach gave them their first point, but seeing as they were leading that match 3-0 at half-time, it was seen as a disappointing result.

Defeat to VfB Stuttgart followed before they actually notched up not just one, but two wins on the bounce. Werder Bremen were beaten at the Böllenfalltor before a 2-1 win away at Augsburg saw them secure their first away points. They couldn’t build on that however as three consecutive losses followed including an 8-0 mauling at the hands of champions Bayern Munich.

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Three more defeats before the Winterpause saw them into double digits for losses and amongst those was a 3-2 loss to fellow promoted side Heidenheim, who have found their feet much better than Darmstatdt. They conceded 33 goals last season on the way to promotion, but have already conceded 41 in the Bundesliga giving them the worst defensive record by some margin and highlighting the step up in quality this season.

On the plus side their twenty goals scored gives them the 12th best record in the league with Tim Skarke scoring six already. The teams above them are all within catching distance with Werder Bremen in 13th only six points better off. Belief and shoring up defensively will be key for Darmstadt in the New Year if they are to avoid an instant return to the second tier.

Tale of the tape

Record: 2-4-10, 10 points (0.63 per game), 18th in Bundesliga

Home Record: 5 points (1-2-5) Away Record: 5 points (1-2-5)

Goals: 20 (1.25 per game), Goals Against: 41 (2.56 per game), Diff: -21

xG: 16.3, xGA: 32.9

Highlight

With just two wins to their name in the Hinrunde, the highlight reel is a very short one, but the 4-2 home win over Werder Bremen on matchday 6 saw them race into a 4-0 lead to give the home fans something to finally smile about. They were pegged back late on, but the first three points were most welcome. 

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Lowlight

Bayern will hand out a hammering to more than one team this season and Darmstadt have already experienced the power of the Rekormeister with an 8-0 defeat on matchday 9 at the Allianz Arena. Three red cards in the first half (two for the Lilien) saw the first 45 minutes end goalless, but the champions let rip in the second half with eight unanswered goals with Harry Kane hitting a hat trick. 

Stand-out performer

Marvin Mehlem has three goals to his credit as well as providing two assists, while goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen has done well despite his leaky back line. Tim Skarke however stands out with his six goals from an xG of just 1.6. He was relegated with Schalke last season and looks to be doing everything in his power to avoid a repetition.

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Grade: F

Darmstadt were expected to struggle and be amongst the relegation candidates and so it proved. They need to really tighten things up defensively and start to take more points from their home games using the Böllenfalltor as a weapon and the crowd as  12th man (like VfL Bochum has managed to do).

About Mathew Burt 1054 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