TSG’s Chris McClintick checks in from Germany
There was once a street named “Arthur-Menge-Ufer” next to AWD-Arena, home of Hannover 96.
Now the street sign has a large red X over the name, above it, there is another street sign: “Robert-Enke-Straße.”
The street serves as a somber reminder to the passersby that Enke’s tragic suicide will always be a part of the fans, players, and club of Hannover 96.
Following Enke’s death on Nov. 10, 2009, Hannover’s season was in a constant state of turbulence. Following his final lace-up, a 2-2 draw against Hamburg, Hannover spun into a freefall, taking only one point from five matches as the winter break came. A 3-0 loss to Berlin after the break, claimed the job of Interim coach, Andreas Bergmann.
With the appointment of ex-Schalke manager, and former Hannover player, Mirko Slomka, the club continued their struggle, survival in the top ranks dependent on two wins in the last two weeks of the season.
Slomka and Die Roten (reds) delivered with a 6-1 home thrashing of Borussia Mönchengladbach setting up a decisive match against fellow relegation contenders VFL Bochum, only two points beneath Hannover going into the final match of the season.
After a vigorous, emotional match Hannover found themselves on top 3-0 in the Rewirpower-Stadion to climb above Nurnberg and out of the relegation zone. After a solid display in the net, the number 27 — now number one — back-up keeper under Robert Enke, Florian Fromlowitz, fell to his knees at the final whistle.
The young, then lachrymose keeper clutched the encircled number one (in memory of Enke) on the upper chest of his jersey while looking towards the heavens, then he collapsed to the pitch as relief, joy, and lament for his fallen teammate and captain seized the moment and his body.
The Winds Of Change
This season the main worry for Slomka’s Hannover 96 has been far from worrying about escaping the drop amongst the bottom teams in the Bundesliga. Instead, it’s been competing with the mighty Bayern Munich for the third and final champions league spot and the inevitable preparations for a season in a European competition. The turnaround from Hannover has been significant. So much of the team’s current success is thanks to the skipper and the rigorous and disciplined system he has instilled.