Various scraps of the goal net, pieces of grass with soil of different sizes, a single aluminum post: the range of souvenirs that came to light on Saturday evening during the big fan march through Essen city center to the Rüttenscheid nightlife area was enormous.

Some Rot Weiss supporters seemed to have confused his club's stadium on Hafenstrasse with a 3D puzzle that can be deconstructed at will.

Club boss Marcus Uhlig's clear appeal not to enter or tear up the stadium after the last, decisive game of the season against Rot-Weiss Ahlen (2-0) did not reach the most exuberant of almost 17,000 spectators.

Which is why the women of SGS Essen had no choice on Sunday but to move their last Bundesliga match against Carl-Zeiss Jena to another place.

It's been brewing for years

The transition from jubilation to merry vandalism is fluid in some locations these days when so many titles and advancements are being awarded.

In this special case, however, the failure of well-intentioned braking attempts was to be expected.

After all, under the cover of the traditional club from the heart of the district, things had been simmering for years.

Here, a passionate following could hardly bear to be trapped in the lowlands of fourth-class football.

Like all players in the club founded in 1909 (as SV Vogelheim), the eleven years in the Regionalliga West seemed to stick to her arms and legs so much that her stay there felt like an eternal test - briefly interrupted each time by new hope, which fell apart all too quickly.

All too often missed the climb

The way out of no man's bay seemed to be mapped out when the descendants of Rahn and Lippens, Burgsmüller and Hrubesch, Wegmann and Mill amazed the entire football nation with brilliant cup victories over Arminia Bielefeld, Fortuna Düsseldorf and Bayer Leverkusen over the course of the last season.

With the defeat in the quarter-finals at Holstein Kiel (0: 3), the great cinema was over again in March 2021, and two months later it was not Rot Weiss, but the second selection from Borussia Dortmund that conquered the only promotion place in the Regionalliga West.

The last train up had once again left without the former Bundesliga club, which remained in the reservoir of traditional clubs.

Wuppertaler SV, Rot-Weiss Oberhausen, Alemannia Aachen, Fortuna Köln and KFC Uerdingen 05 have also played in this regional league recently.

"The sleeping giant has awakened"

A year and 34 games later, RWE chairman Marco Uhlig was finally able to use his favorite picture of the club when he announced after the nerve-racking victory in the long-distance duel with Prussia Münster: "The sleeping giant has awakened." The team around 33-year-old striker Simon Engelmann , who made it 2-0 on Saturday and thus scored goal no. 23 of the season, was simply more consistent than that of the competitor at the end of the season.

The Münster team seemed to have the better cards at the end of February when they were awarded three points for the away game on Hafenstraße after two of his substitutes were pelted with a firecracker fifteen minutes before the end when the score was 1-1 and were no longer usable.

On the penultimate day, however, Prussia surprisingly gave up the lead in the table with a goalless draw at SC Wiedenbrück - and didn't get it back.

dismissal shortly before the end

The last bite in the Essen team was perhaps also sharpened by a surprising personality.

After failing in the semifinals of the Lower Rhine Cup at Wuppertaler SV in early May, head coach Christian Neidhart was released and replaced on the sidelines by regular sports director Jörn Nowak.

The 36-year-old Thuringian was supposed to “ignite new energies” on the last few meters, and whether that was actually the deciding factor should be almost irrelevant on Hafenstrasse.

With a view to the near future, it is more important that Nowak will soon find a suitable successor for the position he is temporarily holding.

From the end of June, he should form a team from a newly assembled squad that can assert itself in professional football right away after 15 years of abstinence.

"Just happy for now"

After all, it's an open secret that the people of Essen don't just want to get a taste of higher floors.

In the medium to long term, promotion should, if possible, initiate a larger, sustainable upswing that will bring them almost within striking distance with the flagship clubs from Bochum, Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen - including similarly lucrative marketing opportunities.

For the time being, however, there are no finished papers in any drawer, as RWE press spokesman Niclas Pieper assured on Monday: "After fourteen years, we are just happy to finally be able to leave lower-class football..."

In this sense, the club with the "giant development" (OB Thomas Kufen) has no interest in holding its own fans accountable for the storming of the pitch.

New goals and nets are found quickly, and the women of SGS Essen won their home game on Sunday 3-0 on a different pitch.

That means staying in class.

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