Marco Sailer joins ambitious Regionalliga side

One of the symbols of Darmstadt’s magnificent first season back in the Bundesliga was scruffy striker Marco Sailer. His long, unkempt beard and his wild running style on the pitch truly symbolised what Darmstadt were: fighters who gave it their all, never caring about a lack of skill or quality within the team.

However, the 30-year-old didn’t make much of impact during his 14 matches on the pitch last season. One goal and one assist in 429 minutes given by coach Dirk Schuster meant that his contract wasn’t extended. A move to the Bundesliga 2 or the 3. Liga was in the cards it seemed, but today news broke that Sailer has joined Regionalliga Nordost side FSV Wacker Nordhausen.

Wacker president Nico Kleofas is thrilled that the club has managed to secure the signature of a former Bundesliga pro; he told kicker:

“We are proud about the fact that Marco has decided to join Nordhausen. It’s something special for the entire region, to see a popular Bundesliga player at Wacker.”

A wealth of experience at hand

Sailer has signed a two-year deal and joins a team of well-seasoned pros. Alongside the striker, there’s former FSV Frankfurt and Hansa Rostock midfielder Zafer Yelen, who was once hailed as one the most-promising up-and-coming talents in the Bundesliga. The 29-year-old joined the club from Berliner AK, a club competing in the same division. Last season, the seasoned veteran provided seven goals and 15 assists in Berliner AK’s run that almost saw them getting promoted to the third tier.

Additionally, the club has a wealth of experience from higher divisions in their current squad with the likes of Nils Pfingsten-Reddig, Timo Berbig, Nils Pichinot, and Mounir Chaftar. Make no mistake, Nordhausen are serious about attacking at the top of the Regionalliga Nordost table.

Backroom staff with a glorious past

In addition to their impressive roster, the club can also boast about the fact that its sporting director and goalkeeping coach were big names in the world of football before they joined Wacker. In the case of sporting director Maurizio Gaudino, many casual followers of German football are probably aware that he is the father of former Bayern player Gianluca Gaudino.

However, the 49-year-old can also talk about a long career as a Bundesliga player. His most famous came during the 90’s when he, back in 1994, led a player revolt at Eintracht Frankfurt together with Anthony Yeboah and Jay Jay Okocha, trying to get coach Jupp Heynckes sacked. The revolt ended badly for the three of them, as they were banned from regular training sessions.

In the same year, Gaudino made even bigger headlines for his off-pitch activities. After appearing on a talk show, he was arrested on the suspicion of insurance fraud, receiving and selling stolen goods, and feigning criminal activities. In the end, Gaudino was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of 28 months.

During his more-than-colourful career, Gaudino was on the pitch in 294 Bundesliga matches, scoring an impressive 48 goals.

Goalkeeping coach Tomislav Piplica is well known for his past at Energie Cottbus. His haircut, which is seemingly taken out of a bad German soft-porn movie, should have been enough to make him legend. The 47-year-old was, during his 11 seasons and for most of his 248 matches, a reliable man between the sticks for the club.

Whenever German football fans are asked about him, however, they’ll tell you the story of Marcel Witeczek’s harmless, but deflected, shot that somehow ended up in Piplica’s goal back in the 2001/02 season.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.