Darmstadt - Going unbeaten three games into the season is the type of record newly-promoted SV Darmstadt 98 could only have dreamed about ahead of their first top-flight campaign in 33 years.
One man who has already played a leading role in that achievement is Marcel Heller, who has proven a constant menace for opposition backlines on account of his blistering pace. Talking exclusively to bundesliga.com, Heller discusses the season so far and what remains on the horizon for die Lillien.
bundesliga.com: Marcel Heller, Darmstadt are one of just five clubs who have gone unbeaten in the opening three matchdays of the campaign. The team have far exceeded even the wildest expectations - that can’t be just down to luck…
Marcel Heller: Only a few people would have believed we were capable of this. We also know though, that we’ve had a bit of luck in one or two situations, but overall we’ve definitely deserved our three points. Of course it would have been great to have won one of the three encounters and have another two points on our tally. However, we can sleep easy with the three draws. Furthermore, we’re making use of the current international break to cut out the little mistakes that we’re still making.
'Nothing short of a mini-miracle'
bundesliga.com: Are you surprised by how well everything is going?
Heller: We believed in ourselves because we’re well aware of what we’ve managed to achieve in the past few years. Naturally, there are teams that play far more attractive football than we can. But if we draw on our strengths, our fight and our passion then we can hold our own in the Bundesliga. If we throw those strengths into the mix then we can, at the very least, make it difficult for several opponents to beat us. We’ve demonstrated that in the first three games.
bundesliga.com: Just a couple of years ago Darmstadt were a lower-league side but are now in the Bundesliga. That is something of a football miracle…
Heller: It’s unbelievable right?! Two years ago we were basically a fourth-tier outfit. Back then only Offenbach’s revoked license ensured we weren’t relegated into the regional leagues. What happened subsequently is, for me, nothing short of a mini-miracle. Even more so when you consider that in the 3. Liga and in Bundesliga 2 we had the smallest budget of any team involved. However, as a result of our unbreakable will and the fact that everything came together for us, we were able to secure promotion in back-to-back seasons. Unbelievable!
bundesliga.com: In Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund you’ll soon be facing some big names…
Heller: If you look at these games on paper then we’re basically dead in the water. What all of us should do, though, is look at these encounters as a gift. That doesn’t mean that we’re just going to give up. We also want to try and use our strengths to make life as difficult as possible for those opponents and maybe snatch the odd goal here or there. Maybe we’ll be able pull off another surprise in one of the three matches!
Interview by Andreas Kötter