Summary

  • Darmstadt finished last season in 14th place.
  • Inspirational coach Schuster has departed; Meier now in the hotseat.
  • Colak aiming to replicate the departed Wagner's goal return up front.

With not long until the 2016/17 Bundesliga season gets under way, it is high time to put each club's upcoming campaign under the microscope. bundesliga.com's previews will provide you with all you need to know ahead of the big kick-off on 26 August…

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Next up are SV Darmstadt 98

Big question

Can Darmstadt pull off another miracle and survive? The Lilies were a breath of fresh air last season – their first campaign in the top flight in over 30 years – with Dirk Schuster's side sealing survival courtesy of a 2-1 win at Hertha Berlin on the penultimate day.

Watch highlights: Darmstadt beat Hertha to stay up

Inspirational head coach Schuster is now at FC Augsburg, and has been replaced in the Darmstadt hotseat by veteran tactician Norbert Meier. Striker Sandro Wagner has left for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, while goalkeeper Christian Mathenia is now at Hamburger SV. If Darmstadt are to stay up second time around, it would be an even bigger achievement that the first.

New faces

Defender Immanuel Höhn has joined Darmstadt from promoted side Freiburg. © gettyimages / Simon Hofmann

There have only been four new arrivals at Darmstadt so far this summer: Daniel Heuer Fernandes and Michael Esser will compete for the No1 spot, while Immanuel Höhn will likely start the first game of the season at centre-back. Antonio Colak has joined from Hoffenheim and will shoulder the goalscoring responsibility.

Coach

Norbert Meier boasts plenty of experience. © imago

Meier is the safe pair of hands to whom Darmstadt turned after the departure of Schuster. The 57-year-old's most recent top-flight experience came as Fortuna Düsseldorf were relegated in 2012/13, although in his latest role he led DSC Arminia Bielefeld back into Bundesliga 2, taking the club to a 12th-place finish last season.

A former West Germany international, Meier has also coached at MSV Duisburg, SG Dynamo Dresden and Borussia Mönchengladbach in his time.

Key man

Skipper Aytac Sulu was inspirational for Darmstadt last season. © imago / Jan Huebner

Aytac Sulu was the highest scoring defender in Europe last season, finding the net a remarkable seven times. While his performances in front of goal caught they eye, Sulu's displays at centre-back were dependable week in, week out. If the Lilies are to stay up, then the 30-year-old will need to produce the same this term – at both ends of the pitch.

Key dates

Darmstadt begin the season away at 1. FC Köln, before welcoming Eintracht Frankfurt for a local derby on Matchday 2. The following weekend brings a tough trip to Borussia Dortmund, before the Lilies travel to Augsburg on Matchday 5 for a reunion with former coach Schuster.

Click here to see Darmstadt's full schedule

Home ground

One of the league's most characterful arenas, the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor has a capacity of 16,500.

Watch: get to know the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor in the exclusive video tour below