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Heidenheim’s rise madness – but Frank Schmidt rejects the monument



Heidenheim's rise madness - but Frank Schmidt rejects the monument

1. FC Heidenheim experienced its very own miracle and was promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time.

Master maker Frank Schmidt was showered with beer in the midst of the Heidenheim promotion madness and almost snubbed the promised accolade. A memorial to the successful coach? “There will be peeing at some point. I don’t want that,” said Schmidt coolly. And when his party-mad pros put a foam crown of barley juice on him again shortly afterwards, he scolded almost angrily: “Yes, then we’ll train for a week longer, I don’t care!”

But instead of training, the “village club” on Whit Monday on the Heidenheimer Schlossberg was the big break for promotion – with 3000 liters of free beer, fireworks and an entry in the golden book of the 50,000-inhabitant town of the Württemberg Ostalb. And with a finally beaming coach Schmidt, who needed a day to process the last-minute madness.

“It goes beyond all limits that we could have imagined,” said the longest-serving coach in German professional football, who has been in office for almost 16 years, to several thousand fans in the Voith Arena. Below him in the stands was a banner that read: “Live your dream!”

CEO Holger Sanwald spontaneously offered Schmidt a permanent contract after the highly dramatic 3:2 (0:0) with Tim Kleindienst’s latest possible winning goal (90+9) at relegated Jahn Regensburg. But: “He doesn’t want to either – that’s Frank,” said Sanwald.

Heidenheim rises: “Simply mentally ill”

The players stepped on the gas for that. “It’s just insane, madness,” exclaimed Kleindienst, who topped the scorer’s crown with 25 goals and announced for the party: “Simply demolition, complete demolition!” First in the stadium, then in Mallorca.

Coach Schmidt, who is so obsessed with success that he won’t even let his own daughter win the Mau-Mau, raved about his “unbreakable” team. And emotionally dedicated the triumph to the former chairman of the supervisory board, Klaus Mayer, who died suddenly in the fall. It was a shock for FCH, but the club didn’t let anything stop them – and stormed into the top flight as the 57th club.

There Heidenheim wants to cause a sensation in the style of the blatant outsiders Unterhaching, Neunkirchen or Homburg, all of whom have stayed up for at least two seasons. When the alleged Bundesliga dwarfing is talked about, “I have to smile,” said Macher Sanwald, who accompanied and promoted Heidenheim’s rise as a striker, department head and finally chairman from the state league, most recently at

The FCH, which emerged from the Heidenheimer SB in 2007, is a slightly different club, he claimed, and offers “real values, real stability and really sustainable decisions in the glittering world of the Bundesliga – without any bling-bling”. Sanwald called out to all the Schalkes, Herthas and Hamburgs: “You should try to play football as successfully as we do.”