BERLIN (AP) — Modest Heidenheim claimed its first-ever Bundesliga win by beating Werder Bremen 4-2 on the day its coach celebrated 16 years in charge.
Eren Dinkçi scored twice Sunday before Jan-Niklas Beste sealed the win against their former team to send most of the 15,000 fans in promoted Heidenheim's sold-out stadium wild with delight.
“I already said in the buildup that if we win the game today, then the team would overshadow everything with the result,” Frank Schmidt said on his 16th anniversary as Heidenheim coach.
“I'm not so important," Schmidt insisted. "Whether I'm coach for 16 years or not doesn't matter. But I'm still happy that we were able to somehow garnish this anniversary with a victory."
Dinkçi did not celebrate after scoring Heidenheim’s second goal before the break, but held his hands up as if apologizing to his parent club. The 21-year-old Dinkçi joined Heidenheim on loan from Bremen in the offseason.
Tim Kleindienst opened the scoring with a penalty in the fifth minute, then sent Dinkçi on his way to make it 2-0 on a counterattack.
Marwin Ducksch pulled one back early in the second half when he headed home the rebound from his saved penalty, and Bremen went on to miss further good chances before Mitchell Weiser finally equalized in the 64th.
But Dinkçi wasn’t finished. Beste crossed for him to score again four minutes later with a low shot inside the right post. This time he celebrated. Beste then made sure of the win in the 76th.
“It was a great soccer game,” Schmidt said. “We were poor in the second half. Bremen was much better in the game after making a substitution and perhaps deserved to equalize. But then the decisive thing happened – we didn't fall apart but we put our heads up. We kept going with a lot of character and scored fine goals to win in the end, deservedly so.”
Heidenheim, based in a town of 50,000 inhabitants in the south of Germany, won the second division last season to clinch its first promotion to the Bundesliga.
Promoted Darmstadt was to rue a sending off as its 10 men conceded three second-half goals against Borussia Mönchengladbach in a 3-3 draw.
The home team raced into an early lead with goals from Marvin Mehlem and Matej Maglica before Tim Skarke made it 3-0 in the 33rd.
But Maglica was sent off early in the second half after a VAR review determined he handled the ball in the penalty area.
Darmstadt goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen saved Tomáš Čvančara’s poorly struck penalty, but couldn’t stop American forward Jordan Pefok from grabbing his first goal for Glabdach in the 56th, brilliantly set up by Rocco Reitz.
Florian Neuhaus scored in the 73rd and Čvančara atoned for his penalty miss by equalizing with a fine strike two minutes later.
Darmstadt held on to claim its first point of the season.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press