There was some delightful sun on display in Darmstadt, sadly the football was a delight. Despite the lack of attacking quality the game and the frantic tempo it was an interesting battle between the two side’s as they battled it out to win the midfield. Darmstadt couldn’t defend their lead and the ten men of Heidenheim stepped up to earn a deserved draw.
This weekend Darmstadt dropped down to fourth place after Karlsruher were held to a goalless draw against Sandhausen, either a draw or a win would be enough for the host’s to move into second place, however it may not be long with Kaiserslautern playing on Monday. The fight for 2nd place is hotting up and it will go down to the wire.
Heidenheim like Bochum started the season brilliantly and toward’s the end of 2014 they dropped off and now find themselves in the bottom half. With just three win’s in 2015 Heidenheim will be looking to cause Darmstadt problem’s and edge away from being dragged into a relegation scrap.
There wasn’t many chance’s in the first half as the ling ball was the flavour of the day and it took till after the half hour mark for either side to come close to an opener. Marcel Heller cross from the left and he unintentionally almost caught out Jan Zimmermann as the cross struck the crossbar. The rebound dropped to Leon Balogun and he unfortunately blazed his effort over.
Before the break Heidenheim mustered up a promising counter attack as Andreas Voglsammer burst forward down the middle from his own half. Sadly for the visitor’s Hanno Behrens managed to get back and make a terrific challenge to deny him going any further.
After a disappointing first half the second started much better and Heidenheim came close to breaking the deadlock three minute’s after the break. Philip Heise took a freekick from the right and rather than crossing he went for goal, his effort narrowly went over the bar.
Like the first half there wasn’t many chance’s and the game was often fought in the midfield. The game suddenly sprung into life after the hour mark, Jérôme Gondorf’s freekick was aimed at Aytac Sulu and after his touch Sebastian Griesbeck swiped him down from behind and the penalty was given. Dominik Stroh-Engel was the man that stepped up to take it and he calmly slotted it into the bottom left to end his goal drought, Stroh-Engel looking pleased with his first goal since the beginning of November against RB Leipzig.
Three minute’s after going behind thing’s worsened for Heidenheim as they were reduced to ten men. Heller flew down the left wing in a quick counter attack and with the ball knock on Heise came across and blocked the winger off. In doing so he picked up his second booking of the game and the visitor’s weren’t happy.
The host’s had a great chance to double the lead from the resulting freekick, it was a great delivery which saw Leon Balogun’s header loop over the bar from six yards out.
The seventy-seventh minute was to remember for ten men Heidenheim, they made a triple substitution and it paid off as in the same minute they got themselves level. Two of the substitutes linked up brilliantly, Marc Schnatterer brilliantly picked out Florian Niederlechner who went on to show some quality, he faked to shoot which saw Sulu slide past him and he casually finished into the bottom right corner.
Tobias Kempe came on for Darmstadt and almost had a similar impact, the winger charged into the area and his cross was just plucked out of the air by Zimmermann as Stroh-Engel and Heller larked behind him.
That was the last of the chance’s in the game and after two minute’s of injury time the game came to an end. Darmstadt will be disappointed that they weren’t able to see out the victory after going ahead and against ten men. Despite that Heidenheim responded brilliantly after the sending off and an inspired triple change saw them grab a deserved draw. Darmstadt will have to improve next week as they face RB Leipzig, who aren’t too far behind them in the table. As for Heidenheim they’ll be looking to end the run of three game’s without a win by beating St. Pauli next Sunday.
Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.