Eintracht Braunschweig are back in Germany's top flight, but are they able to stay?
After 28 years of mediocrity, Eintracht Braunschweig are back in Bundesliga.
Not in the Second Bundesliga or the third division, but in the top flight, which they co-founded; But it was a long way for the almost forgotten club from central Germany.
Eintracht Braunschweig were big in the 1960s and 1970s, and they even won the title in 1967, but their performance slowly declined. They had been stuck in the third League for almost 10 years before a gradual improvement.
Growing slowly and steadily is probably the biggest compliment someone can pay to Braunschweig. Manager Torsten Lieberknecht has been in his position since 2008 and with Eintracht even since his playing days in 2003. A long time in today’s football world
With an annual budget of 15 million euros – Munich has approximately 125 million – Lieberknecht has no chance but to keep his club and team grounded. He dislikes it when players leave the bus with headphones and are too snobbish to greet the waiting fans.
With a empathetic style of leadership, Lieberknecht upgraded their skills to make the Bundesliga. But his team is rock-solid without being exceptional.
An obstacle exists in Domi Kumbela, their striker and best player, who has just started training after his injury. Lieberknecht needs him firing if his team is to stay in the Bundesliga, which starts next week.
But Braunschweig’s promotion into the Bundesliga shows that German football is still diverse. There are teams who nobody outside of Germany can locate, like FC Augsburg, 1899 Hoffenheim or Eintracht Braunschweig.
These teams will probably never succeed as a UEFA Champions League contender but they are quite able to defeat the top clubs like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 on their day. The possibility the David and Goliath miracle can still happen excites fans.
Future will tell us if this competitive nature continues. It does not look like it though. 2011 and 2012 were characterized by Dortmund’s dominance. And the year after that it was Munich’s turn only losing one game in the season.
For Braunschweig it will be tough to stay up, after all they are simply happy to be back. But the excitement of the game will remain through the season as they hope to pull off some memorable upsets and enjoy the ride.
image: © ceris