Two sides fighting for their Bundesliga survival will go head-to-head on Saturday when Heidenheim play host to fellow newly-promoted side Darmstadt.
Having won three, drawn two and lost eight of their 13 league matches, Heidenheim are sitting in 14th place with just two points separating them from Saturday’s opponents, who occupy the relegation playoff spot.
Since claiming an impressive 2-0 victory over high-flying Stuttgart on November 5, Frank Schmidt’s side have gone on to collect just one point from their next three matches. A 4-2 away defeat to champions Bayern Munich was followed by a goalless home draw against Bochum.
Unfortunately for Heidenheim, they were unable to take anything from last Saturday’s away trip to the Red Bull Arena. RB Leipzig established a two-goal lead, before Benedikt Gimber found the net in first-half stoppage time to reduce the deficit. As it proved, Heidenheim were unable to find an equaliser in the second period, ensuring they fell to a fifth consecutive away defeat.
Although they are yet to win an away league game this season, Heidenheim have lost just one of their last five home Bundesliga matches, while they have recorded clean sheets in their last two outings at the Voith-Arena.
Thomas Keller and Elidon Qenaj are ruled out with knee injuries, while
Lennard Maloney is unlikely to feature due to an ankle problem.
Darmstadt that a meeting with their fellow newly-promoted side will help them end a two-month wait for a Bundesliga victory. Since beating Augsburg on October 7, they have gone on to collect just two points from six matches.
After suffering three consecutive defeats, Darmstadt played out two straight draws, before they were edged out by Köln in last weekend’s home meeting. Davie Selke found the net on the hour mark to lead Köln to all three points and condemn die Lilien to their third defeat in four home games.
With Darmstadt languishing in the bottom three on goal difference, they need to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are to extend their top-flight stay into a second season. They currently hold the worst defensive record in the Bundesliga with 34 goals conceded, while they have scored just three goals in their last six matches.
Having lost their last four away games against Heidenheim, Darmstadt are looking to claim an away head-to-head victory for the first time since September 2018.
Torsten Lieberknecht has revealed that Fabian Nürnberger and Matthias Bader will miss out through injury. They are also without Marvin Mehlem, Christoph Zimmermann, Fraser Hornby and Braydon Manu.