Wehen Wiesbaden earned promotion to Bundesliga 2 with a play-off victory over Arminia Bielefeld - but who are the club guided by Englishman Paul Fernie? bundesliga.com gives you the lowdown...
How they did it
Wiesbaden earned promotion to Bundesliga 2 after a three-year absence from the second flight after a dramatic end to their 2022/23 campaign. The side spent the best part of the season in 3. Liga's top four, but found themselves down in sixth after a 4-2 defeat to SC Freiburg II, with 11 matches remaining.
A three-game unbeaten spell at the end of the campaign enabled them to take fourth place - a single point ahead of both Saarbrücken and Dynamo Dresden. With runners-up Freiburg II ineligible for promotion, fourth was enough for a spot in the promotion/relegation play-off against Arminia Bielefeld, who finished 16th in Bundesliga 2.
Having scored the second most goals in Bundesliga 3 (71), Wiesbaden proceeded to smash four goals without reply in the first-leg of the play-off, before a 2-1 win in Bielefeld sealed their ascent back to the second tier.
Watch: Wiesbaden's play-off triumph - highlights!
The spa town of Wiesbaden in the Darmstadt district of Hessen, perhaps best known internationally for the nearby US Air Force base, is a humble enough setting, but the club actually had even lower-key beginnings. They were known as SV Wehen until 2007, taking their name from the 7000-person district of the town of Taunusstein, just outside Wiesbaden, in which they were based. SV Wehen played only in local amateur football until 1987. They then spent the next two decades in regional leagues, before emerging as a force in the (then third tier) Regional League South during the first few years of the century.
Promotion to Bundesliga 2 followed in 2007, with the great success presenting a challenge. Wehen's small stadium did not meet the criteria for hosting matches at that level. So, a new 15,000 stadium, the Brita Arena, was constructed in Wiesbaden within just four months, in autumn 2007. The now professional club changed its name to SV Wehen Wiesbaden to reflect its new surroundings. Although they would survive just for two seasons in the second flight, a run to the quarter-finals of the 2008/09 DFB Cup showed promise, and a further season in Bundesliga 2 followed in 2019/20.
Markus Kauczinski, 53, has plenty of experience in Bundesliga 2 as the former coach of Karlsruhe, St. Pauli and Dynamo Dresden. He also had a brief top-flight coaching spell with Ingolstadt in 2016. Kauczinski took over as Wiesbaden coach in November 2021 and guided the club to an eighth-placed finish in his first season in charge. He bettered that in the following season with fourth place and promotion.
At the age of just 36, Fernie already has an interesting history in football behind him. He has previously worked in analytical roles at New York Red Bulls, Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United. He credits working with former Borussia Dortmund legend Paul Lambert at Blackburn with sparking his interest in German football. He joined Wiesbaden as head of recruitment in 2016 and was working for the club during their most recent campaign in Bundesliga 2 in 2019/20.
Benedict Hollerbach scored 14 goals for Wiesbaden in their 3. Liga season, and added another three goals over the two legs of the play-off. The 22-year-old former Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart youngster made two international appearances for the Germany U18s in 2018. He has shown his great potential since joining Wiesbaden in 2020 and appears destined for a bright future.
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