Late Heidenheim goals secure promotion to break Hamburg hearts
Heidenheim secured promotion to the Bundesliga with two injury-time goals, overtaking German giants Hamburg who thought they had clinched a return to the top flight just minutes earlier on Sunday.
Former European champions Hamburg won 1-0 at Sandhausen and stormed the pitch with Heidenheim trailing 2-1 at the same time, believing they were headed back to the top tier after five years in the second division.
Heidenheim however turned the promotion race on its head, scoring in the third and ninth minute of stoppage time to win 3-2 at Jahn Regensburg and secure a spot in the Bundesliga for the first time in their history.
The late win means Heidenheim will be promoted as second division champions. Heidenheim overtook Darmstadt who lost 4-0 at Greuther Fuerth on Sunday, but confirmed promotion last week.
Hamburg winger Jean-Luc Dompe gave his side the lead just one minute in, slamming in a volley to score the side's fastest goal of the season.
Third-placed Hamburg will now play in the promotion/relegation playoff for the second consecutive season, taking on Stuttgart, who finished third-last in the top division in a two-legged tie.
One of only three German clubs to have won the European Cup, Hamburg had never been relegated in their history until going down after the 2017-18 season.
They have consistently flirted with promotion while in the second division, finishing fourth three times and third last season, before losing the relegation playoff against Hertha Berlin.
Since the playoff system was re-instituted in the 2008-09 season, the second division team has won the playoff only on three of 14 occasions.
Heidenheim were only promoted to the second tier for the first time in the 2014-15 season.
Coached by local boy Frank Schmidt since the 2008-09 season, Heidenheim had finished in the top half of the second division for five of the past six seasons without ever going up.
Alongside Regensburg and last-placed Sandhausen who were automatically relegated, Arminia Bielefeld will need to play a two-legged playoff against third division side Wehen Wiesbaden.
Bielefeld were in the Bundesliga as recently as last season.
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