“Still sad when your 102-year-old grandma passes away.”

By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

SV Darmstadt 98 President Rüdiger Fritsch – as quoted by Kicker Magazine journalist Stephan Köhnlein – has commented on what it felt like to have his club’s relegation offficially confirmed yesterday. 

Though it had most certainly been in the cards for some time, SV Darmstadt 98’s relegation from the German top division was only officially confirmed yesterday. The end to the Lilies latest stay in the Bundesliga (after just one year) came in an appropriately sad fashion. The Hessen-based club lost to the side that was promoted alongside them from the 2. Bundesliga last year. A late goal from 1. FC Heidenheim sent Darmstadt to defeat in front of their home-town fans.

Commenting on what it felt like to experience the inevitable, club President Rüdiger Fritsch acknowledged that “nothing occurred that wasn’t foreseeable”. The Lilies lost both their best defender (Patric Pfeiffer) and best striker (Philipp Tietz) to FC Augsburg before a ball had even been kicked in the current campaign. A thin roster and limited financial resources ensured that survival in Germany’s elite class would prove difficult. Darmstadt have spent most of the season in last-place. 

“It’s like a 102-year-old grandma who you know will pass away at some point,” Fritsch – as quoted by Kicker Magazine journalist Stephan Köhnlein – said yesterday, “Then it’s that time. And then it’s still always very, very sad.”

Fritsch – who has recently hired a new sporting director – didn’t explicitly commit to current head-coach Torsten Lieberknecht for the coming campaign in the second division. The club boss promised a “full analysis from A to Z” after the current campaign concludes. In noting that he respected Sunday’s opponents FC Heidenheim for sticking with their trainer Frank Schmidt through thick and thin over the past 17 years, Fritsch did note that he liked the idea of retaining some form of team identity. 

“With Torsten Lieberknecht, we have established a common system, a common way of working and common goals in recent years,” Fritsch said, “Namely, that we always want to offer decent football.” 

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