The 2015/16 Bundesliga season is now at the halfway stage, providing the ideal time to take stock of each club's progress so far. Here, bundesliga.com puts SV Darmstadt 98 under the microscope.
The story so far
Darmstadt stunned Germany's football community in 2014/15 by winning automatic promotion to the Bundesliga, just a year after they ascended from the third tier. The Lilies had not appeared in the top flight since 1982 and as such went into the campaign as one of the favourites for the drop, especially as coach Dirk Schuster kept faith with the vast majority of the squad he had had in the third division.
Yet through a combination of hard work and a fierce team spirit, Darmstadt have defied the odds so far and currently sit in 13th place. Their bold approach and fearless style have also enabled them to take points off some of the league's biggest teams, including a 1-1 draw away to FC Schalke 04, a 1-0 away victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen and a 2-2 draw in Dortmund.
- Darmstadt have had the most shots at goal from set-pieces (86).
- Only Augsburg have scored a greater percentage of goals from set plays than Darmstadt (47.1 per cent).
- No side has scored more headed goals than Darmstadt's seven.
Although Darmstadt have relied on their strength as a collective thus far, one player in particular has stood out: Marcel Heller. The pacy 29-year-old scored Darmstadt's first goals in the Bundesliga after their 33-year absence in Matchday 1's draw with Hannover 96, and has also found the net against the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hamburger SV.
Dig deeper into Darmstadt's progress so far this season with our interactive table.
Darmstadt's shock victory away to Leverkusen on Matchday 4 gave the promoted side some much-needed points and instilled the belief that they could compete at the highest level.