Marcel Heller on Eintracht against Darmstadt 98

Mr. Heller, you have more insight from your past at both clubs. Dare to make a prediction: Who will win the Hessen derby in the round of 16 of the cup this Tuesday (8.45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the DFB Cup, on ARD and on Sky)?

It’s going to be very, very exciting. That much can be said with certainty in advance. It’s a big draw for both clubs. The people of Darmstadt are more than an outsider. It deserves respect for the performance they have been showing for weeks. The most recent victory, the 4:0 in Sandhausen, was absolutely worth seeing. They manage to compensate for even serious failures in such a way that they can continue with power. From front to back, one cog is currently interlocking with them. So many good things have been said about Frankfurt lately that I can absolutely underline: What this team is capable of must simply impress you. Your development is enormous. And she has the home advantage in a packed stadium on her side, that’s definitely a plus. I’m sure it will be a highlight evening.

What does Eintracht have to watch out for if they want to prevail?

Darmstadt 98 is already felt to be 50 percent a first division team. If they stick with it and keep doing what they have shown so far, promotion beckons them, and then there will be another Bundesliga derby next season. The players have enormous self-confidence: If you haven’t lost 20 times in a row, that creates a powerful unity that even a higher-class team has to break first. Eintracht also works very well as a unit and has great individuals in their ranks. Randal Kolo Muani is a rocket, it’s just amazing how the boy is doing in his first year in Germany. Above all, Eintracht must not make one mistake: take the “lilies” lightly. If she does that and thinks she can show a few percent less, it can quickly have a negative impact. You have to go to the point with full commitment against these Darmstadt players. Torsten Lieberknecht and his team have nothing to lose. And we can be sure that this attitude will help ensure they get down to business. Torsten Lieberknecht will heat up his players accordingly.

How do you rate its role in Darmstadt’s upswing?

He’s a top trainer. We mustn’t forget that the Lilies shed a lot of tears last season because their dream of promotion was shattered on the last matchday. But Lieberknecht managed that not one of the team fell into a hole after the disappointment – quite the opposite. He’s given the team an impressive stability to salute and some really good guys have come along. Darmstadt have now been unbeaten for 20 second division games. They have grown into a huge unit – and Eintracht have to be prepared for the fact that a lot of work is waiting for them.



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