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Bundesliga: Heidenheim promoted, Hamburg in playoff

May 28, 2023

Heidenheim have won promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in dramatic fashion at the expense of Hamburg, whose fans were already on the pitch celebrating their own promotion.

Fussball, 2. Bundesliga, 34. Spieltag l  SSV Jahn Regensburg vs. FC Heidenheim l Fans
Image: Sascha Walther/Eibner-Pressefoto/picture alliance

Heidenheim have won Bundesliga 2 and been promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history after a dramatic final day in Germany's second division.

As the clock hit 90 minutes, Heidenheim, from a small town in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, were trailing 2-1 against already-relegated Regensburg and sitting in third place, which would have seen them enter the promotion-relegation playoff.

Meanwhile, fans of promotion rivals Hamburg were already on the pitch in Sandhausen, celebrating a 1-0 win which they thought had secured direct promotion at Heidenheim's expense.

But then, with 11 minutes of injury time added on in Regensburg, Heidenheim scored twice to not only secure direct promotion to the Bundesliga, but also wrestle the second division title away from Darmstadt – who, already promoted, had lost 4-0.

For Heidenheim, whose head coach Frank Schmidt has overseen 586 games in 5,733 days in the job since 2007, it means the club from the town of less than 50,000 will become the 57th team to compete in the Bundesliga next season.

Back in 2019, Heidenheim played Bayern Munich in a dramatic German Cup quarterfinal, twice coming from behind to lead 2-1 and then draw level at 4-4 in the Allianz Arena, before Robert Lewandowski sent Bayern through with a late penalty.

A year later, they were beaten in the promotion-relegation play-off by Werder Bremen on away goals.

Next season, Heidenheim will return to Munich as equals in the Bundesliga, along with Darmstadt. But Hamburg still have work to do.

The former German and European champions have failed to secure direct promotion back to the Bundesliga for the fifth season in a row since their dramatic first ever relegation in 2018.

The scenes in Sandhausen were reminiscent of 2001, when Schalke fans spilled onto the pitch thinking they'd won the Bundesliga, only for Bayern Munich to score a late goal away at Hamburg.

Just like last season, Tim Walter's side will now face a playoff against the 16th-placed Bundesliga side.

Last year, they lost to Hertha Berlin. This year, their opponents will be Stuttgart.