May 30th, 2024

Darmstadt is relegated from the Bundesliga. Late penalty slightly helps Cologne survival hopes

By Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press on April 28, 2024.

BERLIN (AP) – Darmstadt was relegated from the Bundesliga on Sunday with a 1-0 loss at home to fellow promoted side Heidenheim.

Darmstadt, which finished runner-up behind second-division champion Heidenheim last year, remained bottom of the Bundesliga with just 17 points from 31 rounds. It can’t catch Mainz (28 points) in the relegation playoff spot with only three rounds remaining.

Heidenheim forward Nikola Dovedan scored in the final minute to confirm the home team’s fate. Darmstadt needed a win to have any hope of somehow escaping the club’s fourth relegation from Germany’s top league.

Darmstadt has won one game at home all season.

Some Darmstadt supporters left after Dovedan scored, but the majority stayed to console the players after the final whistle.

COLOGNE GRABS A POINT

Florian Kainz scored a stoppage-time penalty to slightly improve Cologne’s survival hopes with a 1-1 draw at Mainz.

Leandro Barreiro’s first-half strike had Mainz on course to leave the relegation zone, relegate Darmstadt before its game later, and leave second-from-bottom Cologne with little hope of escaping the drop.

But Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner was penalized for a dangerous collision with Cologne forward Sargis Adamyan when he was trying to clear a cross. A VAR check confirmed the penalty decision and Kainz duly took Cologne’s second chance from the penalty spot.

Luca Waldschmidt missed another Cologne penalty early in the second half when he sent it wide of the right post.

“I can only apologize to the team, to the fans, because if I’d scored, I’m sure we would have gone on to win the game,” Waldschmidt said.

Both teams’ players slumped to the field from exhaustion and disappointment after the match.

The result had meant Darmstadt could still catch Mainz before Heidenheim later ended those hopes.

Cologne, on 23 points, can still clinch the playoff spot with three rounds remaining.

The bottom two are automatically relegated, while the team that finishes third from bottom faces the two-leg playoff against the third-place finisher in the second division to determine which side plays in the Bundesliga next season.

GOALLESS IN GLADBACH

Borussia Mönchengladbach and Union Berlin drew 0-0 for a point each in their bids for survival.

Kevin Volland hit the crossbar and the post for visiting Union, which ended its three-game run of defeats but is still waiting to end a five-game winless run.

Union was promoted to the Bundesliga in 2019 and had been flying ever higher until this season. The Köpenick-based team is two points above the relegation zone, while Gladbach remained two points above Union.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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