SV Werder Bremen’s time in the beautiful Zillertal valley in Austria is drawing to a close. Since arriving in Zell am Ziller, the Green-Whites have been treated to hundreds of fans watching their daily training sessions as Florian Kohfeldt’s side prepare for the 2019/20 Bundesliga season. There is one last highlight to look forward to before the return journey to Bremen. On Saturday, 13th July (12:30 CEST), Milot Rashica and Co. will take on former Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98 in their third and final friendly of the training camp. The team will then travel back to Bremen on Sunday.
Club history: Similarly with several traditional clubs in Germany, SV Darmstadt 98 were founded by a mereger. FK Olympia 1898 Darmstadt, one of the oldest clubs in German football, and SC Darmstadt 1905 merged together in November 1919 to form SV Darmstadt 98. The Lilies reached the top flight for the first time in their history in 1978 before suffering relegation the following year. Since then, the Hesse club have jumped around the divisions, falling down to the fourth tier just after the turn of the millennium. Their rise back to the Bundesliga began in the 2003/04 season under head coach Bruno Labbadia, securing promotion from the Regionalliga with 88 points from a possible 102. However, Darmstadt returned to the fourth tier a couple of years later. Their record Regionalliga points tally has still not been broken. 33 years after their first Bundesliga promotion, Darmstadt returned to the top flight under Dirk Schuster for the 2016/17 season. This spell only lasted one season, however, and the Lillies have been playing in Bundesliga 2 ever since.
Last meeting: On matchday 23 of the 2016/17 season, 14th placed Werder faced Darmstadt who were languishing at the bottom of the table at this point. The first half left much to be desire until Max Kruse scored a second brace to give Werder the spoils and a home win (2-0). These three points sparked an end of season revival for the Green-Whites, who went on finish eighth and narrowly miss out on qualification for Europe. Meanwhile, Darmstadt went on to secure 13 points from their final ten matches of the season, but this wasn’t enough to avoid the drop.
Key player: Serdar Dursun joined Darmstadt from fellow second tier side Greuther Fürth last season and the centre-forward went on to score 11 goals and provide six assists in 33 appearances for the Lilies. The Hamburg-born 27 year-old has made Darmstadt feel like home since arriving last season.