“As always, we would have liked to keep some, while others were fine, but we wanted a change,” says André Wehnert, managing director of the Bundesliga volleyball team from Vilsbiburg. We are talking about the squad of the lower Bavarian team, of which there are only three players left for next season: Qatari striker Diana Segovia, Segovia Lindsay Florey and young striker Lara Darovsky, whose contract was for two years. And this, one says, is just as different as ever. Which is also not what they imagined in Vilsbiburg under target reinforcement. “The fact that it has now taken on such an all-encompassing form was not really planned,” Weinert admits.
However, he does not reveal which of the Nine Departures he would like to keep and who not. Especially since last season with the interruptions caused by Corona and the many injuries in the eighth round of the main round was eventful for a long time. No player can be blamed for this alone, but no one was able to achieve enough stability on their own.
What Weinert frankly admits is that the departure of striker Alexis Hart to the Master from Stuttgart is painful. America hinted at its enormous potential. “But it was clear to us that this wouldn’t go unnoticed by the competition,” he says. Despite big plans for the coming years, Felsburg cannot yet keep up with the offer made by the title hopeful and Champions League participant. The budget of the new team is approximately within the range of financial resources available in the previous season. In the long term, Vilsbiburg has set an ambitious goal of doubling its €1m budget by 2025.
The problem: With the exception of young athletes, it is almost impossible to negotiate contracts that last more than a year
This increase is not just about being able to sign seasoned professionals alongside talented players, but about keeping them beyond the end of the season. Midfield blocker Beta Domancic, for example, who initially signed with Vilsburg until the end of the year and then at least until the end of the season, settled quickly despite a lack of training and didn’t look at all dissatisfied. But she also transfers after less than a season.
The problem: With the exception of young athletes, it is almost impossible to negotiate contracts that last more than a year. Player agents define a culture of negotiation and it is clear that they see far more advantages in annual adjustments than the security of a long-term commitment. For clubs like Vilsbiburg, this is not easy in terms of sports. Anyone who supplies the US and South American markets with their instantaneous water heater not only has to invest a lot of energy each season, but also repeat steps taken in the previous season if necessary.
“On our part, there has been a desire for years to introduce a long-term perspective,” Weinert says. But this costs money. Outside striker Louisa Keeler also said goodbye to Stuttgart, while captain Judy Gilliams is moving west after three years in Bavaria for family reasons.
On the other hand, what is designed for continuity is what officials have a direct impact on: the team in the background. The new sporting director, former Felsbiburg head coach, Guillermo Gallardo, wants a long-term commitment. His wife, Nadia, formerly of Rotten Rabin, runs the club’s expanded boarding school. Even former league director Klaus-Peter Jung is unlikely to consider his position as chairman of the Supervisory Board a lightning visit. At least structurally, Vilsbiburg has done a lot to ensure that “as always” from this spring is the exception in the future.