In Hipster's Choice we choose a team of our liking and analyze it in many different ways regarding history, tradition and recent or current success. This month, Axel analyzes SV Sandhausen, the miniclub from Neckar.
DECEMBER: SV 1916 Sandhausen.
Sandhausen is a very uncoveted team in 2. Bundesliga, a club we rarely discuss or even mention. Nevertheless, it's a cool club and a beatiful area of Germany. The Neckar-valley includes teams like Hoffenheim, Waldhof Mannheim, Heidenheim and a few other "Heims". It's not the richest area of Germany, but the natural riches of the area and the wine from Neckar really does make up for that.
There aren't many clubs left with the same famiiiliary feeling as SVS have. The minnows of Zweite Liga are without a doubt one of the smallest clubs, if not the smallest, in the two Bundesligas and their stadium and town shows that. Sandhausen is not only the smallest town to have a team in the Bundesligas, they also have the smallest stadium, Hardtwaldstadion, with a total capacity of 15 000. Recent calculations also show that SVS have membership total of about 770, which is much smaller than for example Sportfreunde Lotte, another mini-club, or even Unterhaching. While it's hard to understand how such a team have climbed into die Zweite Liga, their success is nothing short of miraculous. Nobody expects anything from them , they are more or less expected to get relegated every season, but they do often stay up comfortably, which is a remarkable achievement considering their size and budget.
Last season they even started the season with a -3 points deficit, due to financial instability, but through a fantastic start to the season, they still finished mid-table. Through goal machine Aziz Bouhaddouz they beat Paderborn with 6-1 and showed the world that they would not lie down. Even though Bouhaddouz left for St. Pauli, Sandhausen look stabile. They've lost quite a few key players during the last few years. Central defender Florian Hübner left for H96, Goalkeeper Riemann left for Bochum and Bouhaddouz for STP. However, their resilience and clever policy in the maket has kept them afloat and through loan deals and deal for lower league players, they've managed to both do well financially and on the pitch. Sandhausen's current squad looks to be the thinnest in the league, but their key players are resilient enough to encourage the rest of the team. For example, american striker Andrew Wooten, winger Pledl and striker Lucas Höler as well as their reliable pairing in defence Gordon-Kister seems to be working out with the austrian hard-working defensive midfielder Stefan Kulovits in front of them. Kulovits has been at the club for a while now and is a real fan favourite. before this season, things looked dire. Their squad was even thinner tha last season and their hope for survival looked quite gone. However,, through newly appointed coach Kenan Kocak they've performed brilliantly and now will look to continue this great form.
Next weekend I will be in the stands for their game against Würzburger Kickers, another club I do really like. I trust they'll win. Otherwise, I won't be glad.
Why Hipster's Choice:
Sandhausen's prolific minority-like attitude apppeals me and I like their club. It's a miracle and every season they stay up is a miracle in itself. Without these teams in club football, the sport would be all too predictable, something I trust we all dread. While SVS' history might not be as long and exciting as November's Choice Offenboher Kickers', their current success appeals us all and makes for a great, but different story.
Stefan Kulovits is a key player in midfield. Without his workrate, their pressing would not be as effective. While Wooten is the franchise player, newly acquired Lucas Höler seems to be quite the catch. He came on the cheap fro Mainz' second team and the 22-year old has already scored four goals and three assits in 13 games, which is remarkable for aplayer who has just moved up a division or two. Daniel Gordon in defence is another key player who, with Tim Kister, looks reliable. A reliable defence is needed if Sandhausen are going to continue their form.