A football department was created within the association on 8 July 1911 and became an independent side known as VfR 1911 Heidenheim on 21 August 1922. The swimming club Schwimmverein 04 Heidenheim joined VfR in 1936 to form VfL Heidenheim 04. In 1949, following World War II, these two clubs went their separate ways, the swimmers under their original name, and the footballers as VfL Heidenheim 1911.

Heidenheimer SB's baseball division, Heidenheim Heideköpfe, plays in the first division of the Baseball Bundesliga. The club has made the playoffs in almost every year since it reached the first division in 2001, and won the championship in 2009.[3]

Since June 1973 the team has played in the Albstadion which has a capacity of 8,000. Since the extension in 2009 the stadium is now called Voith-Arena and accommodates 10,000 visitors. Following another extension in 2013 the stadium holds 13,000 visitors.[5] At the beginning of 2015 another extension twas added increasing capacity to 15,000.[citation needed]

The club has since recovered and in 2004 advanced to the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg. A successful season finish in 2008 saw the club being promoted to the Regionalliga Süd. Having simultaneously won the Württemberg Cup, Heidenheim was allowed to participate in the first round of the DFB-Pokal in the following season, where the team lost 0:3 to VfL Wolfsburg. In 2009, Heidenheim finished first in the Regionalliga Süd and got promoted to the 3. Liga.

The current day club was formed in 2007 through the separation of the football section from parent association Heidenheimer Sportbund, a larger sports club that has 5,800 members in 27 departments. The independence of the football side allows it to operate under the stricter economic standards set for professional clubs which are members of the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund or German Football Association).

After five seasons in the 3. Liga with the club always finishing in the upper half of the table 1. FCH won the league in 2013–14 and earned promotion to the 2. Bundesliga for the first time. At the same time the club however withdrew its reserve team, playing in the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg, from competition after such teams ceased to be compulsory for professional clubs.

The club achieved its greatest success in 2013–14 when it won promotion to the 2. Bundesliga for the first time.

Another primary sport club in Heidenheim is Heidenheimer Sportbund (SB), which offers a number of different kinds of sports. Its football division is led by FC Heidenheim 1846, which plays at the Voith-Arena. The team has experienced success in recent years, rising two tiers in the German football league system after winning the Regionalliga Süd in 2009. It now competes in Germany second level, the 2. Bundesliga.

Heidenheim shares borders with the following cities and towns, listed clockwise starting from the North: Aalen and Neresheim (both in Ostalb County, Nattheim (Heidenheim County), Syrgenstein (Dillingen County, Bavaria), as well as Herbrechtingen, Steinheim am Albuch and Königsbronn (all in Heidenheim County).

The 27 May 1972 merger of TSB and VfL brought all these threads together, returning the footballers to the fold of the original gymnastics club. Heidenheimer SB and predecessor VfL Heidenheim played in the Amateurliga Württemberg (III) from 1963–75 and again from 1976–79. Regional cup wins led to the team's participation in the opening round of the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) in 1975, 1978, and 1980, before the side slipped into lower level competition.

1. FC Heidenheim 1846 is a German association football club from the city of Heidenheim, Baden-Württemberg.