Hertha survives a decade in the Bundesliga, facing relegation twice between 2010 and 2013 before bouncing back, only to slip back down to the second division. While the iconic Olympic Stadium will be the largest in the second division, its partially empty stands will pose a challenge in their quest to reclaim their place among the elite. However, for another club, acquiring the Olympic Stadium will feel like hitting the jackpot.
Elversberg, a club hailing from a small village near the French border, is set to make their debut in the second division next season, with Hertha‘s legendary stadium as one of their visiting grounds. Elversberg boasts an extraordinary story considering its humble origins, but the club believes this is just the beginning.
For decades, Elversberg was a regular presence in the third tier of German football, but a restructuring of the lower leagues in 2008 saw them drop to the fourth division. It wasn’t until 2013 that they managed to climb back to the third tier, only to face immediate relegation. Over the following eight years, they competed in the regional Südwest league. However, now their role has become much more significant, consistently challenging for the top positions and never finishing below fifth.
A turning point in the club’s 116-year history occurred in 2017 when Ole Book, then 31 years old, assumed the role of sports director. That same year, due to injuries, he decided to end his playing career and focus on administrative duties. Under his leadership, the squad underwent a transformation, attracting players that other clubs overlooked, gradually paving the way for the success witnessed this season.
In 2018, Book appointed Horst Steffen, a former Bundesliga player, as the reserve team coach. Together, they meticulously built a championship-winning team, often operating under the radar. Notably, all player acquisitions were made without transfer fees, except for the signing of rd21-year-old forwa Nik Voltmeier from Werder on loan. Voltmeier‘s contributions of nine goals and nine assists were crucial in securing direct promotion to the second division and clinching the title.
During Elversberg‘s triumph in the third division, their youth product Luca Schnellbacher shone brightly, netting an impressive tally of 14 goals.
Despite a slight downturn in form towards the end of the season, with only one victory in the last seven matches, Elversberg managed to secure promotion to the second division with a crucial draw against Wehen on Saturday.
Having claimed the top spot since the fifth round, Elversberg maintained their position until the end.
The owners of Elversberg are determined not to see the club experience a swift rise followed by an equally swift fall. Backed by the wealthy Holzer family and the even wealthier local pharmaceutical company Ursafarm, valued at 300 million euros, significant investments have been made to renovate and improve the stadium.
With a capacity of just under 10,000 spectators, the facility can accommodate nearly the entire population of the eponymous village. On average, around 5,000 fans attend matches. Next year, the second division will witness clashes at this stadium, and the club firmly believes that they will soon be competing for even greater achievements, one step at a time.