Darmstadt rename stadium in honour of fan who died from cancer

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Darmstadt have changed the name of their stadium in honour of fan Jonathan Heimes, who died in March following a battle with cancer.

An agreement with ground sponsors Merck will see their name dropped from that of the venues, which will instead become the Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Bollenfalltor for the remainder of the season.

Heimes struggled with the illness throughout his teenage years before losing the battle aged 26 last march.

The move is also designed to support the non-profit organisation 'Du Musst Kampfen' which serves children suffering with cancer.

Heimes' father, Martin, said: "It is a great gesture that Merck has enabled the stadium where the club he loved and supported so much to be named after our son. This way the 'Du Musst Kampfen' initiative is better known."

Darmstadt captain Aytac Sulu believes the change will provide a boost in the club's bid to avoid relegation.

He said: "It's a motivational tool for us, we want to remain in the league again and this connection with Johnny will give us an additional push."

"Every Darmstadt fan who identifies with us, identifies with Jonathan."

Merck has also invested in a new tram to run through the city from Tuesday adorned with the message: 'Thank you, Johnny'.

Darmstadt's shirt sponsor Software AG agreed to have its name replaced by 'Du Musst Kampfen' for one match.