Milot Rashica scored one and set up two more as Werder Bremen secured their spot in the promotion/relegation play-offs with a thumping win over Cologne on Matchday 34. - © Oliver Hardt/Pool/Getty Images
Milot Rashica scored one and set up two more as Werder Bremen secured their spot in the promotion/relegation play-offs with a thumping win over Cologne on Matchday 34. - © Oliver Hardt/Pool/Getty Images
bundesliga

Werder Bremen to face Heidenheim in promotion/relegation play-offs

Werder Bremen will meet Heidenheim in the promotion/relegation play-offs to determine who will play in the Bundesliga next season.

Bremen had looked on course for automatic demotion to the second tier after spending Matchdays 21-33 in 17th place, but a 6-1 win at home to Cologne on Matchday 34 – coupled with Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 3-0 defeat to Union Berlin – granted Florian Kohfeldt’s men a last-gasp reprieve.

While Düsseldorf went down, Werder ended up in 16th and now have the chance to avoid the trap door via the play-offs, where they will face Heidenheim, who secured third spot in Bundesliga 2 on the final day of the season.

Heidenheim head coach Frank Schmidt (l.) and attacker Marc Schnatterer (r.) will now be plotting how to get the better of Bremen. - via www.imago-images.de/imago images / Jan Huebner

Heidenheim had been in pole position to finish third going into Matchday 34, and sealed the deal despite losing 3-0 away to Bundesliga 2 champions Bielefeld, as fourth-placed Hamburg slipped to a 5-1 home reverse against Sandhausen.

The first leg of the play-offs will take place in Bremen on Thursday 2 July, with the return fixture in Heidenheim on Monday 6 July. The prize for the winner is a place in the 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign, alongside Bielefeld and Stuttgart, who were promoted on Matchday 34.

“There’s still a huge amount of pressure,” said Bremen head coach Florian Kohfeldt after his side’s win over Cologne. “Now we’ve got two more all-or-nothing games. We can’t afford to ease off even by a millimeter.”