History

History of the MT

The handball pros at MT Melsungen rang in the '90s with a bang: at the end of the 90/91 season the team under Coach Günter Böttcher claimed the south western German title, qualifying for chance to be promoted to the second Bundesliga. Over the course of three memorable relegation matches, the team led by Captain Ralf Stremetzne could not get by the TuS Kaiserslautern-Dansenberg. Yet the Melsungen spirit couldn't be dampened. At the end of the next season — and another south western German title — the boys in red-and-white seized their chance against the TV Nieder-Olm: two games was all they needed to achieve the jump to the second highest league in German handball!

A team of ambitious supporters had long since formed around General Manager Herbert Rausch. Their work in fields such as sponsorships, organisation and player recruitment was crucial. Their ranks included figures such as Karl Reinbold, Albin Schicker, Reinhard Kuge and Volker Ludwig, although many more also deserve mention. Conrad Fischer served as president of the club. Nevertheless it would take over a decade (13 seasons in fact) in the second league before the MT could clear the hurdle into the 1st Bundesliga.

Even so, they'd manage to earn the national spotlight many times over. This included furious runs in Handball Cup tournaments, most notably in 1996, when Coach Karl-Heinz Richter guided his team to three straight victories against 1st Bundesliga teams. While their luck ran out on 30 April 1996 in a semi-final match against old Bundesliga warhorse TuSEM Essen held in Hamburg, it was nevertheless a fantastic showing for the second league club. 1,000 handball supporters had travelled from North Hesse to celebrate their "MT Cup Heroes", no matter what the scoreboard (17:22) read at the end. The "Männerspielgemeinschaft" (MSG) Melsungen/Böddiger was founded in 1997. 

On 7 May 2005, Melsungen finally reached the summit: "Never again second league!". Their promotion to the highest German league was complete. From a sporting perspective, the groundwork had been laid by Coach Rastislav Trtik, whose "crazy attacking handball" had overpowered the competition and set the MT far ahead of the competition. The business foundation had already been established back in the late 90s with the founding of a limited liability sporting club. Under the general management of Martin Lüdicke and, later, a supervisory board spearheaded by Barbara Braun-Lüdicke, the MT was well prepared for its rise into the top league. 

The first priority for any team entering the 1st Bundesliga for the first time is simply to avoid relegation.  All too often the newcomers find themselves back in the lower division a year later.  But the MT survived. It took five years of "learning curve" and final rankings perpetually in the lower half of the table for the MT to really gain its footing. Michael Roth was hired as coach in October 2010, during a difficult period for the club, and managed to not only right the ship, but get it running better than ever. The impact could be seen better play, a squad filled with more German players (and thus more likely to awaken identification among the growing fan base) and athletic highlights such as two straight Final Four appearances in the DHB Cup in 2013 and 2014.

From 2007 the MT began holding its home matches in Kassel's Rothenbach-Halle arena. It provides places for up to 4,300 fans to cheer their North Hesse handball heroes. The successful recruitment of former national team member Axel Geerken as the new general manager and a conversion of the financial structure for the Bundesliga team from a limited liability GmbH to a privately held AG (stock corporation) in 2012 further optimised the club's professional underpinnings. This has had an impact on its athletic progress as well. After finishing among the top six clubs in the Bundesliga in 2014, the MT also managed its first trip to the international stage that year. Its 2015 appearance in the EHF Cup led to a quarter-final match and its run in the national championship confirmed its 6th place finish a year earlier. Two other fine hours in MT club history came when the second team earned promotion into the Hesse Oberliga and the Juniors A team was promoted to the Youth Bundesliga!

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