Heidenheim clinch Conference League qualification after incredible debut season in the Bundesliga

1. FC Heidenheim 1846 v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga
1. FC Heidenheim 1846 v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga / Sebastian Widmann/GettyImages

Heidenheim will be playing in the UEFA Conference League next season after surpassing all expectations during their debut Bundesliga campaign.

Bayer Leverkusen clinched an unbeaten domestic double on Saturday evening, defeating 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal final courtesy of Granit Xhaka's winner. Heidenheim also celebrated Leverkusen's win, as it helped them secure their place in next season's UEFA Conference League.

Having clinched promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history last season, Heidenheim managed to prove everyone wrong as they enjoyed an excellent debut campaign in the German top flight.

Many expected Heidenheim to face a tough battle to avoid relegation. But after a shaky start, they found their footing and never looked back. Heidenheim pulled off a remarkable comeback against Borussia Dortmund for their first point in the Bundesliga. And they also came from two goals behind to defeat Bayern Munich in April.

Led by long-term head coach and local hero Frank Schmidt, Heidenheim finished eighth in the Bundesliga this season. They can now look forward to the UEFA Conference League play-off round, where they will have the opportunity to continue their sublime run by qualifying for the league stage.

The result of the DFB-Pokal final also means that TSG Hoffenheim will play in the UEFA Europa League next season. Eintracht Frankfurt are also currently set to play in the Europa League after finishing sixth in the Bundesliga this season. But the Eagles would qualify for the Champions League if Borussia Dortmund manage to defeat Real Madrid in this season's final.