Darmstadt - At 17:20 CEST on Sunday 24 May 2015, a wait of 33 years was ended in an outpouring of ecstatic emotion at SV Darmstadt 98's Stadion am Böllenfalltor.

Packed to bursting point in anticipation of that historic moment, and to the thought of seeing the likes of FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund and local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt passing through the gates next season, there was no restraining players and fans when that consequential whistle sounded after a over FC St. Pauli.

'Absolutely incredible'


"It's like a dream," said winger . "I still can't describe it and I'm just so pleased that we've been promoted." It may take a while to settle in, and even then it will require one of the most imaginative minds to put into words what the Lilies actually achieved on Sunday afternoon.

Just 12 months after being promoted from the third tier to Bundesliga 2 - via an unlikely 4-3 win in a promotion play-off - Dirk Schuster's side repeated the feat, marching through and practically conquering Bundesliga 2 in just one season. "It's absolutely incredible," said captain . "It's one of the most beautiful moments of my career. It's absolutely fantastic to get to play in this stadium in front of these fans."

Stars heading to Darmstadt


The manner in which Darmstadt were promoted was histrionic in itself. Schuster's charges had slipped behind Karlsruher SC during the course of the final 90 minutes of the season, but a free-kick from 19 minutes from time saw them climb back into an automatic promotion berth. They held on remarkably to put the seal one of the great modern footballing stories in Germany.

"The goal really came as a relief to us, but we never doubted that we might not make it," said defender , already licking his lips at the prospect of trying to stop , and and Co next season.

Fight to the end


It is a reality they are all going to have to get used to. A return to the top flight of German football for the first time since 1982 may not necessarily have been planned, but it was nevertheless the logical result of such hard and meticulous work. "Our strength has been our organisation, and that we are a superb team," said Sulu, whose side had the joint-best defensive record in the division and lost just five matches of 34. "We're not just team-mates - we're friends.

"We've worked hard the whole season and deserved this promotion," added the defender, who will inevitably now have to get used to hearing people write the newbies off before next season has even started. That doesn't worry him in the slightest, however. "We're used to fighting and we never giving up, and we'll carry on doing that.

Ben Gladwell