Anyone who thought they had already experienced everything with the Dortmund master drama on the 34th match day of the Bundesliga saw themselves taught better a day later: Hamburger SV proved that a success believed to be certain can be handed over even more dramatically than BVB: The fans of the six-time German champions celebrated their return to league one after five years in the 2nd league, when “Dorfklub” 1. FC Heidenheim sensationally passed and put Hamburg in shock.
Coach Frank Schmidt’s team used their match point on the last day of the second division season with a highly dramatic 3:2 (0:0) after a 0:2 deficit at Jahn Regensburg. Heidenheim has been promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time in its history and will be the 57th Bundesliga club in history.
Hamburg fans celebrate too early
Heidenheim’s winning goal by Tim Kleindienst came in the ninth minute of added time after Jan-Niklas Beste (90+3, penalty kick) equalized after the end of regular time. “There are no words for it,” said Kleindienst on Sky: “That’s why we love football, that’s why we love sport, because stories like this are written, that’s just awesome, madness, insane, that was just pure belief, but we just deserve it.” In fact, Heidenheimer not only managed to get promoted, but also pushed themselves to first place in the final table because Sv Darmstadt 98, whose promotion was fixed a week ago, lost their last game.
The fans of HSV had already stormed the pitch and started to celebrate the promotion after their team’s 1-0 (1-0) win at relegated SV Sandhausen, which ended much earlier than the Heidenheim game. The Sandhäuser stadium spokesman also congratulated the Hamburgers on their promotion. Too soon, as it turned out bitterly. With smartphones in hand, they had to witness how Heidenheim equalized and finally scored the winning goal, which meant that Hamburg were relegated for the second time in a row. Opponent is VfB Stuttgart. The first leg will take place next Thursday in Stuttgart, the decision will be made four days later in Hamburger Volkspark.
Long stoppage time
Heidenheim, who went into the last matchday two points ahead of HSV, seemed on the best way to gamble away their lead for a long time. At the beginning of the second half Regensburg took a 2-0 lead with a brace (51st and 57th). Only then did the Heidenheimer seek the forward gear and drew hope from a Regensburg own goal (58th).
At the end of regular time, the referee team indicated eleven minutes of overtime, which, however, was extended to almost 20 minutes due to video evidence after a penalty was whistle and an alleged red card against Regensburg.
The “eternal coach” Frank Schmidt
One of the fathers of Heidenheim’s success is – in addition to financier Holger Sanwald, who has headed the club since 1994 – the coach. Frank Schmidt has been the head coach at 1.FCH for 16 years. The former second division professional from Alemannia Aachen, who ended his playing career in Heidenheim, took over the team in the fourth division Oberliga in 2007 and steadily led it upwards. In 2008 they were promoted to the regional league, which was followed in 2009 by a direct march through and promotion to the 3rd league. Five years later it went up another level: Heidenheim was promoted to the 2nd division.
The club quickly established itself there and has repeatedly scratched the surface in recent years. In 2020, Heidenheim finished the season third, but lost the relegation against Werder Bremen. Now the “village club” and its trainer Frank Schmidt have finally reached their goal. After the game, Schmidt praised his team’s “extraordinary mentality”: “We never give up. I’m super proud,” he said.
Schmidt was asked where his statue should go. His answer: “Nowhere! Because there will be peeing at some point – and I don’t want that.”