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Darmstadt renames stadium after cancer-stricken fan

SV Darmstadt 98

DARMSTADT, Germany (AP) Bundesliga club Darmstadt has added the name of a fan who died of cancer to the official name of its stadium for one season.

The arena will carry the name “Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Boellenfalltor” after technology company Merck gave up its naming rights for this season. Heimes died in March at 26.

The idea came from Heimes’ father, a Merck employee. Darmstadt mayor Jochen Partsch called it a “unique action that we can only support.”

Darmstadt captain Aytac Sulu says the move is extra motivation for the team, which is seeking to remain in the top flight for the second straight season.

Sulu says the “link to Johnny will give us an extra push.”

Darmstadt surprised last season by avoiding relegation despite limited means.