When the schedule for the second division was published last summer, there must have been quite a few fans of newcomers FC Hansa Rostock watching the schedule for the series finale closely. After all, when it comes to the objective of the season – to stay top of the league – given the high quality of the league, it was to be expected that there would be fear and tremors until the end.
The diary showed: Matchday 33 with the other promoted team Ingolstadt 04 and finally a match at the Ostseestadion against Hamburger SV. And then, according to the calculations of the fans, the big party to stay in the league should take place on May 15 in their own arena.
Rostock are already celebrating after the penultimate home game
It turned out different. Not in relation to the essential, to remain upright. But: The celebrations started after last Saturday’s home game against SC Paderborn (0-0).
God knows the game wasn’t fun to watch. But the draw allowed the “Kogge” to cross the finish line on the penultimate day and the games in Ingolstadt and at home against HSV can be approached without worries. “It’s something big, you can celebrate it. You deserve it”, Hansa coach Jens Härtel told the NDR after the game against SCP.
In fact: for a climber, it’s a very strong feat. And it is the fully deserved reward of having been in danger of relegation for only a short period of the whole series.
“It will be a huge challenge for us to stay in the league,” Hansa sporting director Martin Pieckenhagen said before the start of the series. Even before the end of the season, we can say that this chapter has been successful for the club on several levels.
Rise paid for Hansa
The return to the second division has largely contributed to this External liabilities could be reduced by around a third. In total, this represents approximately 8.3 million euros.
This season, the club has achieved sales records in merchandising and marketing, among others. Staying in the league puts the club, which not so long ago was financially up against the wall, in a good position to continue paying off its debts. The deficit is still nearly 15 million euros.
Haertel: Won at the right time
According to Haertel, the team’s ability to handle pressure well was crucial to staying in the league. “We always won at the right time. Winning in Dresden was very important. Scoring points there after a dry spell, especially in the derby, helped enormously. Then, of course, winning at Schalke or at home against St. Pauli. These were extremely important points that no one expected,” said Härtel.
The club’s sporting management used the fact that the team had always been ahead of schedule in their mission to stay in the league to plan for the future at an early stage. The contract extensions of players Damian Roßbach, John Verhoek, Maurice Litka and Hanno Behrens have already been announced. The one with midfielder Simon Rhein followed on Monday.
And the contracts with Haertel, the longest-serving Hansa coach since reunification, and his long-time assistant Ronny Thielemann have already been extended for a year.
He was happy to “continue to be an important part of the Hansa engine room”, explained Härtel. That a cog was and is in fact a sailboat – it doesn’t matter! In the case of the Hansa-Kogge, it seemed like there had really been a driving force this season – as fast as the goal was reached. Well ahead of schedule.