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Werder Bremen is staying the Bundesliga on away goals after a 2-2 draw at Heidenheim in the second leg of the promotion/relegation playoff preserved their place in Germany’s top flight.
Bremen’s American forward Josh Sargent had a front-row seat for the decisive goal, getting the last touch before Norman Theuerkauf put it in his own goal in the third minute.
Heidenheim thickened the drama late when Tim Kleindienst put home the rebound of a shot smashed off the crossbar in the 85th, but a grinder’s effort from veteran Fin Bartels to set up Ludwig Augustinsson in stoppage time put the tie to bed. Heidenheim added a penalty at the death as Kleindienst finished his brace.
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Bremen avoids its first relegation in nearly 40 years. Heidenheim finished third in 2.Bundesliga while Bremen was third-bottom of Bundesliga.
Sargent, 20, worked his way into becoming a Bremen regular this season, featuring in its last 17 league matches and both playoff matches. He started Monday, one of 15 starts between the Bundesliga and playoffs. He finished the season with four goals and four assists.
His stats over 88 minutes were good. Sargent had two shots on target, one blocked, completed two of four dribbles, and influenced the own goal (SofaScore). One of his shots saved could’ve easily been a goal but it did not cost Bremen. The industrious Sargent was involved in 24 duels and drew two fouls.
Manager Florian Kohfeldt asked Sargent to run his shorts off and press hard at forward and Bremen was not good at getting service to anyone this season. Sargent will have hardened his game this season and can now claim to be a part of one of the greatest escapes in Bundesliga history.
An editorial note of pure opinion: Keep an eye on Heidenheim’s Niklas Dorsch, a Bayern Munich academy product who drove Heidenheim with influential performances all season. Unsure there’s another year in the second tier for him.
Sargent, Werder Bremen avoid Bundesliga relegation (video) originally appeared on NBCSports.com