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Too early to celebrate: HSV goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes was already cheering with the fans

Photo: Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

The false jubilation: After the final whistle in Sandhausen, the more than 10,000 HSV fans flooded the pitch. The stadium announcer already congratulated on the promotion, the blissful supporters took selfies with their heroes, goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes was carried on shoulders. Pure joy about the return to the Bundesliga five years after relegation. But then the shock: In Regensburg was still playing, Heidenheim needed two goals in injury time for promotion. And Heidenheim scored. And then again.

The results: HSV won at SV Sandhausen 1-0 (1-0), 1. FC Heidenheim won at Jahn Regensburg 3-2 (0-0) and is promoted as second division champions, as the previous league leader Darmstadt stumbled in Fürth. Click here for the detailed second league report.

First half: In the "direct promotion" project, HSV had to win – and was allowed to celebrate after three minutes: Ransford Königsdörffer shifted the attack from the right to the left, where Jean-Luc Dompé chased the ball under the crossbar. From then on, the visitors controlled the game, but missed the second goal against bottom of the table Sandhausen. Heidenheim slipped to third place due to Dompé's goal and fought not only with strong Regensburgers, but also with their own heavy legs. Nothing came together offensively, goalkeeper Kevin Müller had to make a spectacular save against Prince Osei Owusu at the back (8th minute).

Second half: HSV's ears were now running hot, because the goal screams came from Regensburg every minute: Regensburg's Prince Owusu scored twice (51st and 56th) before Benedikt Saller curiously sank the ball into his own goal (58th). Heidenheim now ran, but remained unlucky for a long time. In Sandhausen it was over – and the Heidenheim madness began. Jan-Niklas Beste equalised with a penalty kick (90+3), Tim Kleindienst scored the promotion 3:2 (90+9). Six minutes later, Heidenheim was in the first division. And HSV was devastated after a final reminiscent of 2001.

Number 56: 55 clubs have played in the Bundesliga, which started in 1963/1964, and 1. FC Heidenheim is now number 56. It is the crowning glory for coach Frank Schmidt, who has been on the sidelines of the East Württemberg team since 2007. By way of comparison, including all assistant and interim coaches, HSV used up 27 trainers at the same time.

Madness like in 2003: Almost 20 years ago to the day, Mainz 05 also seemed to have been promoted after a 4-1 win in Braunschweig, but a last-minute goal from Frankfurt to beat Reutlingen 6-3 destroyed FSV's promotion hopes. If Hamburg want to draw consolation from history: The following year, Mainz were promoted because of the better goal difference.

Duty instead of freestyle: Five coaches failed in their attempt to lead HSV back to the light with a promotion squad and a promotion budget. Number six, Tim Walter, was now to heave the club across the finish line. In a season in which the club was dealing with all sorts of background noises (Mario Vušković doping case, Dompé speeding accident), HSV wobbled again in the second half of the season. After 34 matchdays, third place is now in place for a club that attracted an average of more than 50,000 spectators to the Volksparkstadion last season. More than any other second division club in Europe.

Two extra games: On 1 and 5 June, VfB Stuttgart will be waiting in the relegation play-offs. A look at the statistics darkens the prospects for Hamburg, who themselves last failed there in 2022 despite an away success in the first leg at Hertha BSC: In the past ten duels between the first and second division clubs, the club from the Bundesliga prevailed nine times. The only exception: In 2019, second-division club Union Berlin was promoted to the relegation play-offs. The opponent at that time was: VfB Stuttgart.

Football, bloody hell: The day before, there were sensational last-minute decisions in the Bundesliga and third division. Today, the Second Division followed suit – with a season finale that would sound far too contrived, far too cheesy for any Netflix series. And we still have relegation ahead of us.