“Dream of the century”: up-and-comer furth lets it rip

Until four o’clock in the morning, the league leader, his players and thousands of supporters on the city’s famous gustavstrabe celebrated the exhilarating finale of the franth unsteigbar tour – after eight very narrowly missed first league promotions since 2001. "For us, this has historic dimensions. So many have said: they don’t want to, they can’t. And now we’ve shown them all," said buskens.

In a disco look, midfielder stephan schrock set the pace for the "really fat party," and the team’s first leap into the top flight of soccer unleashed unimagined euphoria in the tranquil little town of forchheim. "Never again second league!"The cloverleaf fans roared from the strength of their bodies, they shot rockets into the air, they waved bright flares in the haze of the night – naturally in keeping with the club’s motto. "For the city of furth, the promotion is the fulfillment of a century’s dream," mused mayor thomas jung, himself in the midst of all the fans and players at the party early tuesday morning.

"A dream has come true. We are absolutely proud that we have made it," also commented manager rachid azzouzi. Together with buskens, he watched fortuna dusseldorf’s 1:2 defeat in dresden live on the tribune, raised his hands – but left the champagne glasses standing. Only after the 330-kilometer drive home do the two of them love to crash. "Guys, leave me a beer," buskens joked to his players via the tv camera – and they followed suit.

Shortly after midnight, the two bosses arrived at their players – gerald asamoah& co. There were no more nuchters for a long time. They had met in the vip room of their own ronhof stadium and looked spellbound toward dresden at 22 o’clock sharp.05 o’clock the 90-minute-dynamo-fans started their spontaneous party. "We’ll drink until we can’t remember a training lesson," promised party lover schrock. His captain thomas kleine, 34 years old and already four times very close to promotion with the spielvereinigung, enthused: "this is indescribable! Thanks to dresden! Now we finally have it!"

With a virtually unassailable lead of nine points and 31 goals over third-place SC paderborn, the buskens team enters the final league spurt. With just three matchdays to go, the second division leaders are de facto out of contention for one of the two direct promotion spots – a terrific achievement for a soccer club that had perfected failure for years.

Despite the best starting positions, furth has missed out on promotion eight times in the past eleven years with a remarkable lack of nerve. Bundesliga hopefuls stranded in fifth place seven times, in fourth place once. "There were still people in furth who offered me a bet after the last game that we wouldn’t make it again," buskens said.

On the 52. New ground now awaits newcomer to bundesliga history – and undoubtedly the tough fight against relegation. Rough games against FC bayern, borussia dortmund and especially in the derby against neighbor 1. FC nurnberg then on the agenda for the team around ex-national player asamoah. What the squad will look like is still open – but the francs will hardly be able to afford big financial jumps.

The cloverleaf club also has some catching up to do in terms of infrastructure. The ronhof stadium, built in 1910, is barely up to bundesliga standards. A new 35 million euro arena is in the planning stage, but is not scheduled for completion until 2014.

Of the promotion team, only stephan schrock has announced his departure so far; the aubenbahn player wants to try his hand at 1899 hoffenheim from the summer onwards. Before that, however, the party of tuesday night is to be topped once again: for the 29th time in a row. April a big promotion party is planned after the home game against fortuna dusseldorf – including a motorcade to the town hall. "There will be no end to the atmosphere," predicted OB jung. The bar is high.

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