Heidenheim leapfrog Hamburg thanks to Kerschbaumer's injury-time strike
Konstantin Kerschbaumer stole all three points for Heidenheim on Sunday in the 95th-minute of the promotion decider.
Hamburger SV conceded yet another late goal on Sunday (21st June) to leave their hopes of promotion to the Bundesliga hanging in the balance, as Konstantin Kerschbaumer's strike deep into added-on time gave Heidenheim the win that sees the hosts glide past their guests into the promotion play-off spot. There was nothing to separate the two sides at the break, as a positive HSV performance was not rewarded with threatening attempts on Kevin Müller's goal. As it turned out, Joel Pohjanpalo's go-ahead goal after 20 seconds of the second half was the worst thing that could have happened to the guests, as they became sloppy and careless, letting their hosts back into the game. A fine comeback for Heidenheim was capped by Kerschbaumer in the fifth minute of injury time, after Jordan Beyer's own-goal in the 80th minute, as the Rothosen conceded their fourth late goal in eight appearances since the restart.
Visitors unable to convert pressure into chances
Dieter Hecking made a raft of changes after Tuesday night's disappointing 1-1 draw with Osnabrück, not only in terms of personnel but also employing a 3-1-4-2 formation, with Jordan Beyer, Timo Letschert and Rick van Drongelen making up a back three, and Gideon Jung sitting in defensive midfield behind Jeremy Dudziak and Aaron Hunt. The guests seemed to have little trouble adapting to the new formation in the opening exchanges, starting the game with tempo and hunger, a welcome change to the performance against Osnabrück. Jan Gyamerah, in the starting line-up for the first time since the game against Hannover in September, provided impetus down the right-hand side, but was pushed wide by Föhrenbach in the fifth minute and his shot was deflected away by Heidenheim centre-back Beermann. Two minutes later, the woodwork was brought into action for the first time in the game, as a trademark floated corner from Aaron Hunt was flicked on at the near post by Gideon Jung, crashing into the far post, and just evading Martin Harnik and Jordan Beyer, who were waiting on the rebound.
That proved to be the closest the Rothosen would come to breaking the deadlock in an entertaining first half, which lacked testing efforts for 'keepers Kevin Müller and Julian Pollersbeck to deal with. Martin Harnik headed an Aaron Hunt free-kick wide of the target, before a cross from the ever-present Gyamerah was headed over by Pohjanpalo in the 36th minute. Captain Hunt had the best chance of the half five minutes before the break after being fouled on the edge of the box by opposite number Griesbeck, but the 33-year-old's resulting free-kick drifted harmlessly over the bar, not generating the dip needed to get his effort up and down in time. Heidenheim gained more of a foothold in proceedings as the half wore on, and in fact brought Julian Pollersbeck into action three times, but the 25-year-old was able to gather all three long-distance efforts with ease.
Heidenheim complete injury-time comeback
The Rothosen came roaring out of the traps in the second half, showing the incision that was lacking in the first after only 20 seconds. A long ball from the back was flicked on by a Heidenheim defender straight into the path of Joel Pohjanpalo, who touched the ball on with his head, before cutting inside the covering defender and firing with his right past the helpless Müller from ten yards. The first five minutes after the restart saw a Hamburg onslaught, as Martin Harnik tested Müller with a rifled half-volley and a dangerous Aaron Hunt free-kick was headed away at the last minute by Heidenheim centre-back Beermann. But as has often been the case this season, the pressure relented and the Rothosen let the hosts back into the game. The Brenzstädter thought they had equalised in the 56th minute, as a corner found its way to substitute Schimmer at the back post, who fired past Pollersbeck, but after consultation with VAR, referee Aytekin ruled the effort out due to a handball in the build-up.
The game became disjointed in the following quarter of an hour as Heidenheim tried to get themselves back on level terms, yet a number of errors crept into the attacking play of both sides, leading to lots of midfield action but little to interest either goalkeeper. Despite not threatening Julian Pollersbeck since the disallowed goal, FCH brought themselves level with ten minutes to play thanks largely to club icon Marc Schnatterer. The substitute found himself with time and space on the right-hand flank, whipping a dangerous ball across the Hamburg six-yard box, which was touched into his own net by Jordan Beyer, with Heidenheim striker Kleindiest at his back. The closing stages saw the game return to its disjointed nature, as niggly fouls resulted in little rhythm in the game, as the hosts pressed, but Kleindiest scuffed an effort wide and Schimmer blazed over when well-placed.
Yet it was to be injury time that was Hamburg's downfall yet again, for the fourth time in eight games since the restart. A long, hopeful ball from the left wing by Marc Schnatterer was headed back into the middle by Stefan Schimmer at the far post, into the path of fellow substitute Konstantin Kerschbaumer, who wasn't tracked by the Hamburg midfield. The Austrian didn't connect well with his effort from the penalty spot, but it was enough to beat Julian Pollersbeck to cap an incredible fifteen-minute turnaround for the hosts. Heidenheim's win means they leapfrog Hamburg into third position and have their destiny in their own hands when they head to Bielefeld next Sunday. The visitors played well for 50 minutes of the game, but seemed to relax after taking the lead, letting their hosts into the game who were much the better side for the final half an hour and shaded the game thanks to a lack of concentration from their visitors.
1. FC Heidenheim: Müller - Busch, Mainka, Beermann, Föhrenbach (64' Theuerkauf) - Griesbeck (74' Kerschbaumer), Dorsch - Leipertz (64' Schnatterer), Otto (52' Schimmer), Mohr (52' Thomalla) - Kleindienst
Hamburger SV: Pollersbeck – Beyer, Letschert, van Drongelen – Gyamerah (55' Vagnoman), Dudziak (67' Kinsombi), Jung, Leibold - Hunt - Pohjanpalo (82' Hinterseer), Harnik (67' Jatta)
Goals: 0-1 Pohjanpalo (46'), 1-1 Beyer (80', eg), 2-1 Kerschbaumer (90'+5)
Spectators: unfortunately none
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach)
Yellow cards: Griesbeck (39'), Thomalla (65') / Jung (23'), Beyer (90'+2), Pollersbeck (90'+4)
Red cards: - / -