If SV Darmstadt 98 wins the last two Bundesliga matches, the lilies will rise. The math is so simple. But it is not only the belief in your own strength that triggers strength in the southern Hessians. Also a blue and white bracelet.
It’s actually quite simple. This current season in the 2. Bundesliga still has two playing days. And if SV Darmstadt 98 wins these two matches, then the lilies will no longer play in the same league next season. From summer, there will actually be Bundesliga football at Böllenfalltor. So much for the sober, still theoretical part. The emotional significance of this quite simple arithmetic is far greater. The lilies, who would have thought so, can actually handle the ascent on their own.
“We know the table situation. Anything else would be a lie,” Lilien striker Phillip Tietz reported on Tuesday, revealing, “We can take something positive from it.” What the attacker in southern Hesse is right, of course. Darmstadt will no longer have to look left and right in the hot promotion final – if they win themselves. Lilies have been in second place since last match day and have a clearly better goal difference than their rival Werder Bremen. The increase is within reach.
How eager is Düsseldorf?
The first step is to be taken in Düsseldorf on Friday (18.30). Nothing is at stake for Fortuna anymore, but that does not make the Rhinelans less dangerous. Since coach Daniel Thjoner took over in Düsseldorf, Fortuna no longer knows the word “defeat”. That was to change on Friday. At least when it comes to the lilies.
But the opponent is never underestimated. “It’s nonsense if you think they would not give it their all. They also want to win the last home game,” Tietz warned. “Düsseldorf is a brutally strong team. It is, of course, a board. But I have no worries, because we are completely focused.” Southern Hesse has already proven this against Aue and St. Pauli. The lilies are hot on the way up, there is no doubt about that.
The “You have to fight” spirit is back
In addition to reflecting on your own strength, looking at your own game, Lilien also gains strength from a special story: the one about the late Lilien fan Jonathan “Johnny” Heimes. Johnny played a major role in the sensational march from the 3rd division to the Bundesliga from 2014 to 2015, where he handed out his “You have to fight” bracelets out to the successful Darmstadt team.
Only a few of today’s teams knew the story of the cancer patient who died in 2016 at the age of only 26 years. However, players like Tobias Kempe and Fabian Holland, who had met Johnny in person, told their colleagues – and made sure that the “You have to fight” spirit celebrated a comeback in Darmstadt.
“Johnny is a role model”
“Johnny is a role model,” reported striker Tietz, who has only played in Darmstadt since this season and did not know the story in advance. “I took the bracelet at once and have never taken it off since.” Even years later, Johnny’s bracelet campaign gives that little extra dose of motivation to the lilies. “I find the story extremely remarkable,” Tietz said Tuesday. He himself, the attacker revealed, draws personal strength from it.
He should not be the only one on the team. Already against Aue you could see a blue or white ribbon around the wrist of almost all Lilien players. Below: Johnny’s bracelet. And the message is just as valid today as it was then. “He fought for years and was a great example that you can achieve a lot if you fight,” Tietz said. “And we will give everything for him and promise as a team that we will fight.”