Preußen Münster are back in Bundesliga 2 for the first time in over 30 years. - © DFL
Preußen Münster are back in Bundesliga 2 for the first time in over 30 years. - © DFL
2. Bundesliga

Preußen Münster: Who are the Eagles returning to Bundesliga 2 after back-to-back promotions?


Preußen Münster will play Bundesliga 2 football next term for the first time in 33 years. But who exactly are the 3. Liga runners-up looking to continue their rise through the divisions? profiles the second-tier’s latest addition…


Münster were formed on 30 April 1906, meaning they recently celebrated their 118th anniversary. Founded by students from a local secondary school, they won their first title, the Westphalian championship, in 1914, but silverware has come at a premium throughout their history. While they did win the championship again in 1921, they spent much of the following two-and-a-half decades bouncing around the leagues in what was then a localised league system in Germany.

After World War II, Münster were bankrolled by Joseph Oevermann, and became the first club in the country to sign players through financial means – the rest of German football still abided by amateur values. As such, the ‘100,000-Mark attack’ was formed, including Borussia Dortmund’s record goalscorer Alfred Preißler and Münster’s all-time leading marksman Siegfried Rachuba.

That offensive line-up led Die Adler to the 1951 German Championship final, although they ultimately lost 2-1 to Kaiserslautern. Their performances in the competitive Oberliga West saw them included in the inaugural Bundesliga campaign, but they were immediately relegated. Besides two years back in the Bundesliga 2 at the start of the 1990s, they have spent much of the past 40 years yo-yoing between the 3. Liga and Regionalliga, and not even former Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt could take them back to the second tier during his three-year stint from 2007 to 2010.

Now, though, they have secured back-to-back promotions, winning the Regionalliga West by 13 points in 2022/23 before finishing behind 3. Liga winners SSV Ulm this term.

Roger Schmidt spent three years in charge of Preußen Münster between 2007 and 2010. - imago sportfotodienst

Key players

Joel Grodowski

One half of Münster’s lethal forward duo, Joel Grodowski has enjoyed himself this campaign, with his goals firing his team to the Bundesliga 2.

The striker’s professional career started at Bradford City in England, but he made just a single League One appearance before returning to his homeland. 14 goals in 28 Oberliga Westfalen matches during the 2018/19 campaign for Hammer SpVg, who finished 16th that campaign, attracted the interest of Preußen, and he made the switch at the end of that term.

It took him a while to find his feet in his new surroundings, but he has flourished this season. Only Ingolstadt’s Jannik Mause (18) has managed more than his 17 strikes in 3. Liga, scoring in 10 out of 11 matches in January, February and March. At 26 years of age, he appears to be entering his prime, and the team will need him at his best if they are to survive next term

Malik Batmaz

Grodowski has formed a prolific partnership with Turkey youth international Malik Batmaz, who has finally started to show his undoubted potential over the past 10 months.

Coming through the ranks at Karlsruher, Batmaz was prolific, netting goals galore at U17 and U19 level. He eventually made his debut for KFV in the DFB Cup in 2008 at the age of 18 as he set out on what promised to be a strong spell at the club. However, he never really got going at senior level, finding the back of the net just seven times in 82 appearances. After struggling to nail down a regular starting spot, he made the switch to Münster last summer.

That decision proved to be inspired. Batmaz has matched Grodowski’s tally for the campaign, which puts him joint-second on the division’s goalscoring charts, popping up with several match-winning displays. All in all, he has racked up four braces and one hat-trick, which came in a 4-0 victory over Erzgebirge Aue in October. Although he didn’t find his stride in Bundesliga 2, he has several years of experience at that level, so Münster will be hoping he can take the confidence he has amassed this season to the next stage.

Malik Batmaz has been in fantastic form this term. - IMAGO/Fotostand / Nieweler

Simon Scherder

Now in his 18th year at the club, Simon Scherder is part of the Preüßen furniture. However, unlike your favourite armchair, he has plenty to offer on the pitch, playing a big role in his team’s promotion.

The centre-back joined the club as a 13-year-old in 2006, and has stayed put ever since. After making his senior debut during the 2012/13 term, he became a regular the following season and soon developed into a valued member of the squad. During the 2020/21 campaign, he played all of Münster’s 38 fixtures, popping up with four goals in the process. This term, he has scored three times in his 29 outings, while he has even pulled on the captain’s armband on three occasions.

Now 31, Scherder is approaching the end of his career, but he will play in Bundesliga 2 for the first time in 2024/25. Having dedicated so much of his life to Münster, he will be eager to make a good impression.

Marc Lorenz

Every team needs a strong leader, and Münster captain Marc Lorenz takes on that role with pride. As one of the more experienced members of the group, he has been a key component of the team during one of their most successful campaigns.

The left midfielder is a local boy, and was even on Münster’s books as a youngster before moving to Schalke in 2006. He never played a first-team game for Die Königsblauen, instead turning out for the second string before returning to the Eagles for two years between 2009 and 2011. Stints at Sportfreunde Lotte, Arminia Bielefeld, Wehen Wiesbaden and Karlsruher followed before he tried his luck once more with his hometown club two years ago.

It is fair to say things have gone swimmingly. After six goals and 11 assists during the Regionalliga title-winning season, he has four strikes, one of which came in the 2-0 final-day win over Unterhaching that secured promotion, and a further nine created this term – no other Münster player has managed as many of the latter. Of the eight games he has played no part in, Preußen have lost four, which is proof of his importance. Much like Batmaz, he knows what Bundesliga 2 is all about and, now aged 35, he will be hoping to go out on a high – whenever that may be.

Marc Lorenz has led by example for Preußen Münster. - IMAGO/David Inderlied

Coach: Sascha Hildmann

The man behind this Münster achievement is Sascha Hildmann, who has been in charge since January 2020. This, though, is far from his first job in football coaching, although it is easily his most successful.

Born and bred in Kaiserslautern, Hildmann featured for Die Roten Teufel’s B team, as well as Alemannia Aachen, Saarbrücken, Pirmasens and Homburg during an unremarkable playing career. He spent five years between 2006 and 2011 as player-coach of SV Rodenbach and, after officially hanging up his boots in 2011, he moved into Regionalliga outfit SC Idar-Oberstein’s dugout.

Spells at Hauenstein, Elversberg (U17s), Mainz (U16s) and Sonnenhof Großaspach followed before Kaiserslautern captured his services in 2018. It was not a fairytale return, though, as he lasted fewer than 12 months before being relieved of his duties with the team struggling in the 3. Liga.

That disappointing outcome at a club that meant so much to him could have seen Hildmann lose motivation and desire, but he bounced back in Münster. While he could not prevent relegation back to the Regionalliga in 2019/20, the team have not finished lower than third in any other campaign. If anyone deserves credit for Preußen’s rise, Hildmann is a strong candidate.

Preußen Münster head coach Sascha Hildmann has led the team to back-to-back promotions. - IMAGO/pmk

How the season panned out

Having only just joined the division, few would have expected Münster to challenge at the summit, and after five matches of the campaign they had amassed just four points as they sat in 18th place. That, though, proved to be a false alarm, and they have been a far tougher nut to crack ever since.

The defining period came at the start of 2024, when Hildmann’s men embarked on a 12-game unbeaten run, which also included a streak of six straight victories. They have proven adept at eking out narrow triumphs, winning on eight occasions by just a single goal.

While the backline has been leaky on occasion, they have been deadly at the other end of the pitch – no team in the league has managed as many as their 68 goals, with Grodowski and Batmaz amongst the top three goalscorers in the division.

Three losses in six from the start of April, including defeats to promotion rivals Ulm and Jahn Regensburg, threatened to derail their progress, but Münster stood firm and ultimately got the job done on the final day of the season with victory over Unterhaching.

Stadium: Preußenstadion

Originally considered one of German football’s most modern stadiums, the Preußenstadion was built in 1926 and has been the home of Münster’s finest ever since. It holds several distinctions, such as the being the first venue to accommodate a live radio football broadcast in Germany as well as being the first ground to be sold out in the Bundesliga in 1963. It currently holds a capacity of 14,300, although that number will increase once renovation work is complete in time for the 2027/28 term.

Preußen Münster play their home games at the Preußenstadion. - IMAGO/Herbertz / Nico Herbertz

Did you know?

Current Hoffenheim manager Pellegrino Matarazzo spent one season at the club, the 2003/04 campaign. The American made 23 3.Liga appearances, scoring no goals, before moving onto Wehen Wiesbaden, Wattenscheid 09 and Nuremberg II and embarking on his managerial career.