Wolfsburg edged the first leg of the 2016/17 relegation play-off with Eintracht Braunschweig with a 1-0 win, and there is every chance that the second leg could match some of the dramatic winner-takes-all match-ups of yesteryear...
2015/16:Eintracht Frankfurtvs. Nürnberg 1-1/1-0
The Eagles preserved their Bundesliga status after a fraught, emotionally draining clash. Just 24 hours before the first leg, Frankfurt sipper Marco Russ had learned the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Russ, then 30, bravely decided to play but his own goal gave Nürnberg a lead that Mijat Gacinovic cancelled out. Russ missed the second leg, but his teammates stepped up in his absence and stayed in the top flight thanks to a close-range winner from Haris Seferovic. More importantly, Russ won his battle with cancer and was back in the Frankfurt team in February 2017.
Watch: Frankfurt secured their Bundesliga status via the play-offs in 2015/16
The only ever-presents in the Bundesliga’s history were within seconds of dropping out before a dramatic twist in this play-off tale. Karlsruhe had an away goal in the bag from the first leg, and edged the Red Shorts nearer to the precipice when Reinhold Yabo scored with 12 minutes of the second leg to go. But Marcelo Diaz’s brilliant curling free-kick in stoppage time kept the Bundesliga dinosaurs alive, and with five minutes of extra time left Nicolai Müller broke Karlsuhe’s hearts with a tap-in.
Watch: Hamburg avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth in 2014/15
2011/12:Hertha Berlinvs. Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-2/2-2
Fortuna’s climb back from Oberliga Nordrhein - the fifth tier of German football – was complete after this close-run victory, but it was in the balance all the way to the end. They led after winning away in the first leg, but despite Maximilian Beister’s first-minute goal at home, Hertha stayed in touch. Raffael made it 2-2 on the night with five minutes left, leaving the Old Lady needing just one more for an away goal victory but Fortuna clung on to return to the big time.