Ruprecht Prusseit enjoyed a strong start to his new career as a fledgling Football Manager, leading SV Dessau 05 to six wins in his first 10 games in charge. The challenge now was to maintain that form and push for promotion by finishing in the top two of Verbandsliga Saxonia-Anhalt.
Having been thrown straight into the thick of league action, Prusseit eventually settled on a fairly standard 4-3-3 formation that gave star striker Branden Stelmak, who’s considered a leading player for the tier above, freedom to do his thing. And that had seen him plunder 23 goals in his last nine games.
However, one slight issue with being a semi-professional club was that all but three players had non-contract status and were only being paid appearance fees. That meant any team could swoop in and steal his players for free at any time, which they soon did for holding midfielder Iskilou Akakpo and centre-back Mohamed Ibrahim. While the club’s dwindling finances – due to losing about £20,000 per month – were a problem that Prusseit decided to blindly ignore as he couldn’t do anything about it.
Stelmark’s Sensational Goalscoring Continues
Prusseicht knew he was going to be reliant on Stelmak, and so it proved as he scored the only goal at home to Emseloh then the second after an own goal in a 2-0 win at home to Sangerhausen. That sent them into the toughest test in the league away to Magdeburg, which the media described as Dessau “facing the impossible” and they were 17/2 to win. But they went close to the impossible with a great defensive performance to draw 1-1. That result saw Dessau climb into the top two for the first time, ahead of Lok Stendal on goal difference.
Stelmak continued to score goals for fun as Dessau went six games unbeaten. He also scored twice as they lost 4-2 at Weißenfels then bagged his fifth hat-trick of the season in a 3-3 with third-place Haldensleben. Another Stelmak brace earned a 3-1 win at Fortuna Magdeburg, which took him to 35 goals for the season in early December! But he wasn’t done there as another hat-trick led a 4-0 thumping of Bernburg, which sent Dessau into the winter break in 2nd place.
Normal service was resumed as Stelmak scored the second in a 2-0 over Cöthener, in which exciting winger Koffi Laba scored the opener, and two more in a 2-2 at Bitterfeld to move past 40 goals for the season. But he really hit top form as he hit his second double hat-trick of the season in a 6-1 romping of Barleben. That was part of a streak of goals in 10 consecutive games as a brace in a 5-2 win over Preussen saw him hit the 50-goal mark in mid-February!
Elsewhere, Magdeburg II booked promotion in early March and led 2nd-place Dessau by 20 points. While Dessau had built an eight-point lead over 3rd-place Stendal. But a 10-game unbeaten streak ended with a 1-0 loss at home to 6th-place Tangermünde. And a potentially pivotal clash with Stendal, which was strangely a third league meeting, ended in a dull 0-0. But they boosted their promotion hopes with Laba and Stelmak braces in a 4-2 win at Farnstädt moving them seven points clear of 3rd.
Dessau kicked into top gear as right-winger Aluong Yaak scored twice before Stelmak smashed another five-goal haul to down Amsdorf 7-1. But a couple of draws weren’t punished by their rivals as they took a six-point lead into the final four games. The season conclusion started with a tough test at home to runaway winners Magdeburg II, which wasn’t helped by Laba getting sent off after an hour and they lost 2-0. But luckily, Stendal also lost so they remained six points clear with three games remaining.
Next was a tip to 18th-place Thalheim and they dominated the early stages with Stelmak missing three great chances. But he eventually took one, then went on to bag yet another hat-trick while Thalheim scored from two goalbound shots. Stelmak added another with a brilliant volley and Thalheim obviously scored their next shot on target, but midfielder Wael Salhi scored an even better volley and his midfield partner Robert Römer tapped home from a corner to secure a wild 6-3 victory. That meant Dessau were virtually promoted, bar a 32-goal difference swing.
They could book promotion with a point at home to Weißenfels and started well as Stalmek headed home after 11 minutes but the visitors obviously scored their only shot on target of the half. And despite 23 shots to eight they only drew 1-1, but that was enough to confirm promotion.
Dessau 05 secured promotion to Oberliga!!
They wrapped up the campaign with a 2-1 win over Haldensleben on Prusseit’s 39th birthday, with Stelmak bagging a ridiculous 65th league goal of the season. Unsurprisingly, he was the league’s top scorer and Prusseit felt a little sorry for Bernburg’s Usman Taiwo, who scored an impressive 41. Stalmek had the best average rating of 8.16 and a superb 18 player of the match awards, while Yaak topped the assists chart with 18 with Laba in second on 13.
Verbandspokal Sachsen-Anhalt Latter Stages
Stelmak brought his league goals into the cup as his double led a 3-2 win over Haldensleben to reach the semi-final. But the run ended there with a 3-0 defeat to Wernigerode, who were from the tier above and massive favourites for the tie.
Excellent Season Ends With Exciting Youth Intake
Prusseit was delighted with his team’s efforts this season. However, he was under no illusions about the mammoth task awaiting them with the step up. Stelmak had been responsible for 65 of their 94 goals and they couldn’t afford to resign him and the only other two players on contracts next season – and Stalmek agreed a move to the US. Hilariously, Stalmek had only scored 40 league goals in his 10-year career prior to this season, so his 65-goal tally increased his career total by 162%.
But he preferred to focus on the positives, the main one being Stalmek smashing an incredible 69 goals and seven assists in 42 games. He was the only player to reach double figures for goals with Laba next on nine then Yaak on six. Yaak led the way with 19 assists followed by Laba (15) and Salhi (10).
However, the loss of Stalmek was tempered by a youth intake that looked pretty impressive on paper. Prusseit’s first official youth intake delivered 14 players with at least 4.5-star potential and nine with 5-star potential. That was led by striker Tom Berg, who could be the ideal replacement.
The intake also included goalkeeper Frank Sander, which was much-needed as number one Zicos Resvanis will also be leaving. Other players to keep an eye on include wingers Oliver Büscher, Moritz Schüssler and Mohammed Al-Zidani, midfielders Marc Kauffmann and Finn Schorch and centre-back Kevin Wolf.
Up in Bundesliga, there was no danger of a team upsetting Prusseit’s pipedream of becoming the first manager to lead an East German team to glory just yet. Bayern won Bundesliga with eight games remaining, completed an unbeaten season and finished 22 points clear of Leipzig.
How big a challenge will it be to keep Dessau in the fifth tier of German football? And would Prusseit’s achievements at the bottom of German football attract bigger teams in East Germany? Join us on Friday to find out!
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