Cologne – Marcel Heller is making waves with newly promoted SV Darmstadt 98. The winger has been in fine form, yet only a few years ago, he came close to calling time on his footballing career.
Heller in fine form
The atmosphere in the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor was already electric. After 33 years away from the Bundesliga, Darmstadt fans were finally watching top flight football again. In the 31st minute, though, the stadium exploded. After a corner for opponents Hannover 96, Marcel Heller picked up the ball in his own half. He then took it 60 metres down field and into Hannover's penalty area, flicked it past defender Miiko Albornoz, and scooped it into the far corner with his right foot. A wonder goal.
But it was far more than just a goal. It was an emphatic message from a man who had been given a second chance and was determined to take it. Heller scored again against Hannover, smashed in a fine volley against Borussia Dortmund and netted yet another in the derby against 1. FSV Mainz 05. Since then, the chant “Schnell, schneller, Marcel Heller” (fast, faster, Marcel Heller) has been known all around the country.
Born in the Rhineland town of Frechen, Heller's career started like any other. He joined local club 1. FC Quadrath-Ichendorf at the age of six and played there for twelve years. After that, his career took him to Bonner SC, Alemannia Aachen's second team and Sportfreunde Siegen, before he made the jump to the Bundesliga, joining Eintracht Frankfurt in 2007. For the 21-year-old Heller, it was a dream come true.
Even the then DFB Director of Sport Matthias Sammer congratulated Eintracht on their new signing: “I am very excited by Heller. Eintracht can be proud to have a talent like him in their squad.”