It’s been 77 days since SSV Jahn Regensburg’s last second division game so far, and all over the country there was a lot of discussion about what such a long break means for a professional team. The restart in the third and first division suggested that defenders might need longer to find their way around again, where many goals were scored. Sarpreet Singh laughs. That would be good for him, says the attacking midfielder. He’s still a bit behind in game fitness, “but everyone had a long break”. But the New Zealander’s was particularly long: He had waited 301 days to play, which is why he is now really looking forward to the game against second-division leaders Darmstadt 98 on Saturday (1 p.m.).
The lilies only lost once in the first half of the season, on the first day of the game – in Regensburg. Singh was still injured, which wasn’t a big issue at the time because of the good start. They didn’t bring him the bad news until September: that he wasn’t allowed to play again this year, even after his pubic inflammation had healed. On his second loan from FC Bayern to the Upper Palatinate, a formal error had happened, Singh’s entry in the player portal had simply been overslept. The proximity of this embarrassing announcement and the resignation of the sporting director Roger Stilz suggests a connection between the two events, which is of course officially denied.
For Singh, this faux pas was doubly bad, because due to his protracted injury, a deal that had almost been negotiated with the first division club Werder Bremen had burst. “Of course I was disappointed,” he says today, “but I tried to be positive. I’m still young. It’s good that the injury is now completely cured.” It was a big disappointment for Jahn because the club neither has the money nor is it ticking enough to just get someone else for such an unforeseen absence.
Twelfth place sounds decent, but the gap to the relegation zones is small
“Health,” said coach Mersad Selimbegovic on the sidelines of the club’s New Year’s reception, “is the most important thing. Then all other goals are easy to achieve.” It wasn’t aimed at Singh alone, the boy was now “not a savior who can do everything alone”. In addition, after his long break, you have to make sure that he doesn’t get injured again right away.
Twelfth is Regensburg. That sounds pretty good, but it’s only two points away from the relegation zone. Selimbegovic has been with Jahn since 2006, and the former defender wants nothing more than consistency. “We had major changes in the summer, fluctuations were to be expected,” he says. In the past few weeks, the main focus has been on playing more consistently. Sarpreet Singh was always there, he was allowed to train the whole time. In this respect, after regaining game fitness, he could already be a positive X-factor, which can be decisive in a tightly packed tableau. In Regensburg they are constantly talking about the mammoth task ahead of them.
At the reception in the arena, the commercial director Philipp Hausner announced a new year’s motto, which doesn’t look all that spectacular at first, but at Jahn it represents an appropriate intersection between aspiration and reality. It means standing up for one another. The new sporting managing director Tobias Werner is also pulling in this direction. Of course, the down-to-earth nature of this club also attracted him, as a former FC Augsburg professional, “and how Jahn developed and established himself in the second division”. Werner is 37, Hausner 41, Selimbegovic 40 years old. Singh is 23, by the way. Fairly young staff for the Stay in League mission.