Although the Regionalliga West team lost, it somehow also feels like a win. Rödinghausen put in a courageous performance against Bayern München in the second round of the DFB-Pokal as they lost 2-1. Already within 13 minutes, the SVR-keeper Niclas Heimann was forced to pick the ball out of his net twice as Bayern quickly went 2-0 up. However, the underdogs pulled one back through Linus Meyer in front of a sold out crowd (16,000) at the VfL Osnabrück stadium. In an interview with DFB.de, the 27-year-old keeper talked about Manuel Neuer’s shirt, the penalty against Thomas Müller and going back to reality.
DFB.de: Have you ever been so happy after a loss, Mr Heimann?
Niclas Heimann: No! It was already a unique and special game for us all. It is clear that a loss is a loss but we went 2-0 down early but got back into the game, played well and scored a goal. I think that we can be proud of our performance.
DFB.de: Was it the biggest game of your career?
Heimann: Definitely. We played against the Bundesliga record champions! It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium and with the rain, it made into a true cup fight. It was a great feeling.
DFB.de: What did it feel like when players like Thomas Müller and Sandro Wagner pop up in front of goal?
Heimann: In the game it didn’t matter who came towards me. I just tried to keep the ball out the back of my net.
DFB.de: You made some strong parries and a sensational reflex save to keep out Leon Goretzka’s volley. What did you feel when you conceded?
Heimann: For the first goal that Sandro Wagner scored, we did not do enough to close down the flanks and so when the ball came in, it was an easy goal for him to score. It’s hard to defend against a quality cross. Although I went the right way for Thomas Müller’s penalty, he had struck it too well into the corner.
DFB.de: Going behind early was something you wanted to avoid?
Heimann: I agree. However, if Bayern start playing their passing game with a quick tempo, you have to be prepared for it. Sometimes they were just too fast for us and that’s why they went 2-0 up. I think it would have been a bad scoreline if Renato Sanches had made it 3-0 from the spot.
DFB.de: Did you have a feeling that Bayern were shaky after you scored your goal?
Heimann: Shaky is a little exaggerated. We did score in the second half and we won the second half 1-0 but if anything we were just an unpleasant opponent for Bayern. They knew that we could score and so in the latter stages of the game they slowed the game down.
DFB.de: Did you speak to any of the players after the game?
Heimann: It was funny with Manuel Neuer. He forgot his undershirt and came to us to borrow one. He came to me and said he was wearing my shirt and winked. I told him he could keep it!
DFB.de: You got hold of Manuel Neuer’s shirt after the game?
Heimann: Yes, but it wasn’t very easy. Manuel was already in the changing room and so their coach Niko Kovac brought it to me. I know him from our time in Salzburg. I was mostly in the reserve team and Niko Kovac was an assistant coach of the first team. I already guessed back then that he would have a great career ahead of him. Not only is he a great coach, he is a great human too.
DFB.de: Have you got a special place for Neuer’s kit in mind?
Heimann: I am very happy to now have his kit. It is certainly a highlight of my collection. At some point I would like to make a place dedicated to just football kits!
DFB.de: How is Linus Meyer after scoring against Bayern?
Heimann: Completely normal. The fact that he scored against the Bundesliga champion seems to have had no effect on him. For me he was the man of the match.
DFB.de: On Saturday you play against FC Köln’s U21 team. How is it getting back to reality?
Heimann: The league is our reality. We are all aware of that. We have shown a very good performance against Bayern and want to take the confidence into the Köln game.