Saturday June 22, 2024

Heidenheim celebrate 1st Bundesliga win, Darmstadt in 3-3 draw

Published : 17 Sep 2023, 21:39

Updated : 17 Sep 2023, 21:43

  By Mark Meadows, dpa
Gladbach's Florian Neuhaus scores his side's second goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Darmstadt 98 and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Merck-Stadion am Boellenfalltor on Sunday. Photo: Uwe Anspach/dpa.

Heidenheim won their first ever Bundesliga game on Sunday after Eren Dinkçi scored twice against his parent club to help secure a thrilling 4-2 home win over Werder Bremen.

It was the perfect present for Frank Schmidt, who became the longest serving coach at one club in German professional football.

The game came exactly 16 years after the now 49-year-old made his coaching debut with a 2-1 fourth-division win against Normannia Gmünd on September 17, 2007. The previous record holder was Volker Finke, who coached Freiburg from July 1991 until June 2007.

Schmidt's journey up the divisions with a side from a southern German town of just 50,000 people is the stuff of football fairy-tales but his promoted team added to the story with a win in just their fourth Bundesliga game in front of a capacity 15,000 crowd.

"It was an awesome game," Schmidt told reporters. "We quickly got to grips with the first half but in the second, we started badly. The key thing though was that we didn't fold."

On Dinkçi, Schmidt added: "We are very thankful that we could have him."

The other promoted side, Darmstadt, threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home to winless Borussia Mönchengladbach having seen goalscorer Matej Maglica dismissed on 49 minutes. They at least picked up their first point of the season.

Darmstadt, who unlike Heidenheim have been in the Bundesliga before, also lifted themselves off the bottom after Marvin Mehlem showed excellent control to score early and Maglica netted the second after just 10 minutes. Tim Skarke made it 3-0 just after the half hour.

But Maglica was then sent off early in the second half only for Tomáš Čvančara to see his subsequent penalty for Gladbach easily saved.

Jordan and Florian Neuhaus pulled goals back as 10-man Darmstadt fell apart and Čvančara made amends with the leveller on 77 minutes.

Gladbach - in the Champions League in 2021 - have finished mid-table in the last two seasons. Despite Sunday's comeback, another difficult campaign awaits after some high profile exits such as Marcus Thuram but little investment. Mainz are now bottom.

Heidenheim, who drew 2-2 at Borussia Dortmund before the international break, deservedly defeated Bremen.

Anthony Jung's handball allowed Tim Kleindienst to stroke home a fifth-minute penalty and after Bremen had missed a big chance to level, Dinkçi made it 2-0 when he waltzed into the box amid poor defending just before the break.

Bremen-born Dinkçi was loaned from the Weserstadion in the close season and - as is common in the Bundesliga - there was no clause saying the 21-year-old could not play.

He refused to celebrate out of respect for the northerners, who cut the deficit on 49 minutes when Marvin Ducksch scored on the rebound after his penalty was saved.

Mitchell Weiser's superb header levelled matters but Dinkçi quickly hit back, grabbing his second with a calm finish. Jan-Niklas Beste made the game safe on 76 minutes to condemn Bremen to a third defeat already.

On Friday, leaders Bayer Leverkusen grabbed a last-gasp 2-2 draw at second-placed Bayern Munich. In Saturday's main programme of matches, RB Leipzig moved third with a 3-0 win over Augsburg.