- Heidenheim 2-2 Werder (2-2 agg; Werder win on away goals)
- Tim Kleindienst scores two late equalisers in vain for underdogs
Werder Bremen have preserved their Bundesliga status on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw with second-tier Heidenheim in their promotion/relegation play-off.
The underdogs had earned a creditable goalless draw in Bremen last week, but fell behind at home in the third minute when defender Norman Theuerkauf, who started his career at Werder, turned the ball into his own net.
Werder could have had two more goals inside the opening 10 minutes, as Milot Rashica had his shot saved before Davy Klaassen saw his header cleared off the line. Heidenheim staff members in the stadium banged drums, blew horns and wound up an old air-raid siren in an attempt to create some atmosphere, and it seemed to lift the hosts after the break.
Substitute Stefan Schimmer blasted over the top from close range before David Otto narrowly missed with a header. In the 85th minute they broke through, Tobias Mohr’s long-range effort hitting the crossbar and rebounding in off forward Tim Kleindienst. Heidenheim now needed one more goal to reach the Bundesliga for the first time in their history.
As the hosts pushed forward, Werder struck on the break in stoppage time. Fin Bartels’ mazy run set up Ludwig Augustinsson to put Florian Kohfeldt’s side back ahead four minutes into stoppage time. There was still time for Theodor Gebre Selassie to bring Mohr down in the box, and for Kleindienst to convert the penalty – but that was the last kick of the game.
Werder, who won the Double in 2004 and have been in the top flight since 1981, could have been automatically relegated on the final day of the season – but their 6-1 win over Cologne saw them leapfrog Fortuna Düsseldorf and into the play-offs.
Their great escape also meant a happy ending to Claudio Pizarro’s career. The 41-year-old striker is heading into retirement after scoring 109 goals across four different spells with the club.