Bundesliga Hinrunde report card: 1.FC Heidenheim

2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. Next we run the rule over promoted side 1.FC Heidenheim. 

The story so far

A strong Hinrunde can be key to the ultimate survival chances of any newly promoted team and that is exactly what Heidenheim have achieved this season with a more than respectable start to life in the Bundesliga. Their first-ever appearance in the German top flight sees them ninth in the table going into the winter break and they will be full of optimism going into the New Year now that they have found their feet.

The season opened with a 2-0 defeat at Wolfsburg before they threw away a 2-0 lead in their first-ever home Bundesliga match by conceding three late goals against Hoffenheim at the Voith Arena. They showed great character in their next game at the Signal Iduna Park to stage a second half comeback against Dortmund to take a first point, before securing their debut Bundesliga victory with a 4-2 victory over Werder Bremen.

They were easily brushed aside by Leverkusen before then achieving a second successive home win with a 1-0 over struggling Union Berlin. Three losses followed (Frankfurt, Augsburg and Mönchengladbach) but a third home win stopped the rot when they surprisingly beat high-flying VfB Stuttgart 2-0.

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Matchday 11 saw them travel to the Allianz Arena and they came away with a respectable 4-2 defeat. 2-0 down at the break, they gave the Rekordmeister a bit of a fright by fighting back to 2-2 before ultimately succumbing to the Bavarians. The Hinrunde however finished on a high with three victories following a draw with Bochum and a loss to Leipzig. Fellow promoted side Darmstadt were beaten, a first away win was secured at Mainz and then they ended with a flourish coming back with two stoppage time goals versus Freiburg to win 3-2 on matchday 16. 

For good reason, Heidenheim coach Frank Schmidt (in post since 2007) was voted the Personality of the Year by esteemed magazine Kicker. The club have managed to keep their heads well above water and have notched up six wins thus far and avoided the fate currently being suffered by fellow promoted side Darmstadt, who sit bottom of the pile. 

Tale of the tape

Record: 6-2-8, 20 points (1.25 per game), 9th in Bundesliga

Home Record: 16 points (5-1-2) Away Record: 4 points (1-1-6)

Goals: 25 (1.56 per game), Goals Against: 32 (2 per game), Diff: -7

xG: 20, xGA: 35.7

Highlight

The very first Bundesliga win achieved on matchday 4 against Werder Bremen was a highly satisfying moment for the home fans and everyone associated with the club. The second half display at the Signal Iduna Park in the 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund was also a massive confidence booster for the team. Victory over high-flying Stuttgart was also quite a coup. 

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Lowlight

Throwing away victory when 2-0 up against Hoffenheim on matchday 2 was a lowlight, but a learning curve. The 5-2 home loss to Augsburg on matchday 8 was their worst performance, particularly considering they lead 2-0 after 18 minutes. 

Stand-out performer

After earlier unsuccessful spells with both Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen, midfielder Jan-Niklas Beste is showing that he does belong in the Bundesliga with some impressive displays. His set-piece delivery is on point, and he’s got five goals and eight assists to his name already this season. His stunning free-kick against Hoffenheim was probably the pick of his goals. 

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Grade: B+

Heidenheim have performed above expectations and have avoided the struggles that Darmstadt have endured. Ninth place at the winter break with six wins is a most satisfactory position, but they can’t get complacent. Sixteen of their twenty points have come at home, so improving their record on their travels will be the target, but this season is a learning curve. They are however proving to be quick learners.

About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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