Having eased past Ascoli during a 1-0 win to secure promotion, Brescia can begin to prepare for life back in the top flight, as Daniele Dessena’s goal was enough to add another vital three points.
Brescia have been beaten just four times in 34 games, winning 18, in a campaign that they owe 25 of their 67 goals to their inspired centre-forward, Alfredo Donnarumma. The current Serie B Capocannoniere has become Brescia’s prized asset in his maiden season since joining from Empoli, who he had also helped to promotion before being dropped.
Le Rondinelle, or ‘The Little Swallows’ were formed in 1911 and have spent 22 seasons of their 108-year history in Italy’s top tier.
This season’s brilliant performances have been in high contrast to Brescia’s previous campaign, as they finished 16th, having even flirted with an unthinkable relegation to Serie C for the first time in 37 years.
Most international readers’ first memories of Brescia will be Dario Hubner, a chain-smoking, beer-drinking striker nicknamed ‘Il Bisonte’ – The Bison. He represented the club from 1997 to 2001, finding the net 17 times in 31 Serie A games during the 2000-01 campaign, going on to take the Capocannoniere title at Piacenza with 24 goals a year later.
Brescia last featured in Serie A during the 2010-11 season, but finished 19th during a year that saw the Northern Italian side axe and replace two Coaches in the same campaign before they inevitably failed to beat the drop.
Giuseppe Iachini was replaced by Mario Beretta in December, but he lasted just one month before Iachini was reinstated and then departed for good at the end of the season once Brescia’s fate had been sealed. Iachini’s side mustered just 32 points, as they were relegated alongside bottom club Bari and 18th-placed Sampdoria.
Since then, the Stadio Rigamonti club has been on the verge of bankruptcy and relegation to Serie C, taken over by former Cagliari and Leeds United President Massimo Cellino. He immediately lived down to expectations by hiring David Suazo and sacking the ex-striker three games into the campaign. His second pick was rather more inspired, as Corini has represented Brescia as a player too, making 24 appearances and scoring twice in the 1994-95 season.
During the 2000-01 campaign, La Rondinelle achieved their best placed finish, eighth in Serie A, above the likes of Fiorentina and Udinese, while European heavyweights Napoli suffered an unlikely relegation following a dismal campaign.
During the height of their success, Brescia were led by Ballon d’Or winner and Italian hero Roberto Baggio, with the side later coined ‘Baggio’s Brescia’. The attacking midfielder who was famed for his free-kicks scored a staggering 45 goals in 95 appearances for the club under the tutelage of Carletto Mazzone. He retired at in 2004, bringing an end to a brilliant 22-year playing career.
Brescia will be eagerly anticipating the visit of the likes of Juventus and Napoli to the Stadio Mario Rigamonti next season, but above all their old local rivals Atalanta. It’s wonderful to have this Lombardy Derby back in Serie A, especially with Atalanta knocking at the door of the Champions League.
Where Hubner was the ageing striker making a huge impact in his first Serie A season, this time Brescia have Alfredo Donnarumma.
He is 28 years old, helped Empoli to promotion last term only to be sold and is now determined to make his mark in the top flight at long last after 25 Serie B goals.
Where Andrea Pirlo started his career at the Stadio Rigamonti, his heir apparent Sandro Tonali is already pulling the midfield strings and he won’t turn 19 until next week. He contributed to this promotion with his three goals and seven assists, but above all the creativity that earned interest from the likes of Juventus, Roma, Inter and Milan.
Having Brescia back in Serie A is wonderful for the Calcio community and they can make new memories to go with the old images of Hubner, Baggio and Pirlo.
Image via @BresciaOfficial