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The games are coming thick and fast at the moment. On Sunday, just 63 hours after the win at Dynamo Dresden, the Boys and Brown play host to SV Darmstadt 98 at the Millerntor (kick-off: 1330 CET). As usual, we've taken a close look at our forthcoming opponents.

Match abandoned

SV Darmstadt 98 began the second part of the season at home to FC Kaiserslautern on Wednesday evening. Owing to a medical emergency at half-time that led to Kaiserslautern head coach Jeff Strasser being rushed to hospital, however, the game was abandoned with the scores level at 0-0. Strasser was found not to have suffered a heart attack and is now on the road to recovery. No date has been set for the rearranged fixture yet, but we do know that it will go over the full 90 minutes, as the regulations of the German Football Association dictate that any game that is abandoned with no side at fault shall be replayed at the same location.

Schuster's return

Six games into the season Darmstadt sat second in the table behind leaders Holstein Kiel. A run of eleven games without a win followed. The club showed faith in head coach Thorsten Frings but eventually dismissed him after a 1-0 defeat at Erzgebirge Aue on conclusion of the first half of the campaign. He was replaced by Dirk Schuster, who guided the club from the third division to the Bundesliga a few years ago. The Lilies earned a point on Schuster's debut before the winter break, drawing 1-1 at Greuther Fürth.

Five in, three out

Darmstadt signed four new players before the league resumption against Kaiserslautern. Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders) and Slobodan Medojevic (Eintracht Frankfurt) completed permanent moves to the Böllenfalltor, while Baris Atik (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) and Romain Brégerie (FC Ingolstadt) arrived on loan until the end of the season. On Friday morning the club announced that they had also taken Dong-Won Ji on loan from FC Augsburg until the end of the season. In the other direction, the Lilies released three players in Jamie MacLaren (on loan to Hibernian FC), Ruibao Hu (return to Vejle BK) and Hamit Altintop (unattached). Altintop left the club at his own request at the turn of the year.

Effective Lilies

In the first half the season Darmstadt registered 142 shots on the opposition goal to leave them a lowly 16th in the league in this category. When it comes to converting their chances, however, no one was better than the Lilies over the first 18 matches. Those 142 attempts produced 28 goals for an impressive conversion rate of 19.7 per cent. Darmstadt are particularly prolific after the break, scoring 19 times as opposed to just nine before half-time.

Only two shutouts

The Lilies have kept just two clean sheets this season. Goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes remained unbeaten in the 1-0 defeat of Fürth on the opening day and the 3-0 home win over the Boys in Brown two weeks later. The Lilies have been waiting in vain for another clean sheet ever since that reverse fixture back in August.

Never write them off

Darmstadt have fallen behind in 15 of the 18 matches played so far, more than any other team. However, only seven of those games ended in defeat. The Lilies secured a point on six occasions and recovered to win against MSV Duisburg (2-1) and Arminia Bielefeld (4-3). Twelve points after going behind equates to the best return this season along with VfL Bochum.

Vulnerable at set pieces

Darmstadt have suffered major problems from opposition set pieces, conceding 13 goals from dead ball situations, eight of which have come from corners – more than any other team in the second division.

Lots of yellows but no reds

The Lilies have committed 278 fouls in their first 18 games and picked up 46 bookings, the highest total in the league. Yet Darmstadt are the only team to end every game with 11 players, having had no one sent off to date.


Photos: Eibner