HEIDENHEIM FACT FILE
Wednesday, 23. November 2016, 15:44 Uhr
This Saturday the Boys in Brown travel to the league's surprise package, FC Heidenheim, who sit in fourth place with 13 matches played. So what's the story down in Baden-Württemberg? We take a closer look at Frank Schmidt's side.
Heidenheim have demonstrated week in, week out, that you don't need to play rough to be successful. With just 17 yellow cards and no sendings-off, Frank Schmidt's men sit on top of the fair-play table. Interestingly, they are far from being the team with the fewest fouls. A total of 204 infringements puts Heidenheim 42 ahead of Union Berlin, for example, the best in category on 162. The Boys in Brown have not exactly taken an agricultural approach either. With 29 cautions Ewald Lienen's team occupy seventh place in the fair-play rankings.
Keep things tight at the back and then switch the play in the blink of an eye. Modern football sounds so simple, but it isn't, of course. Lots of practice and a clear direction are required, something head coach Frank Schmidt has drilled into his Heidenheim players. A possession rate of 45.81 per cent, the third lowest in the league, underlines just how important this is. That a team can still challenge at the top end of the table despite having so little of the ball is made clear by their goal difference. Heidenheim have scored seventeen goals and conceded just ten.
A look at the three teams above Heidenheim (Braunschweig, Stuttgart and Hannover) reveals that their strengths lie in attack. That is not the case with Frank Schmidt's side, who place their faith in a solid defence. With 13 matches gone, goalkeeper Kevin Müller has been beaten on just ten occasions, the best record in the league! And at home their defence is particularly stable. Just four of those ten goals have been conceded at the Voith Arena.
One for the romantics
They still exist, you know, those players who spend almost their entire career at one club. Through thick and thin. OK, that might be a bit syrupy, but it is what it is. Marc Schnatterer has been turning out for FC Heidenheim since the 2008/09 season. To be more precise, the left-winger has been on FCH's books for 3,067 days. Schnatterer, now 31, has accompanied the club on its journey from the fourth-tier Regionalliga South to the leading pack in the second division. Kudos!