Wolfsburg maintained their Bundesliga status for another season after beating Holstein Kiel 1-0 (4-1 on aggregate) in the relegation play-off second leg on Monday.
Holstein Kiel 0-1 Wolfsburg
Goals: 0-1 Knoche (75')
The first half was a feisty affair, with the unfancied hosts harrying their visitors and throwing themselves into tackles in an effort to impose themselves on the game. Wolfsburg maintained their composure though, and thought they had taken the lead in the 17th minute only for Yunus Malli to see his goal chalked off for offside. Kiel had substance to back up their physicality as well, however, and created a number of promising chances but, as was the case in the first leg, failed to convert them.
The home team very nearly went in front early in the second half, but Koen Casteels produced a superb reflex save to deny Aaron Seydel's close-range flick. It would prove to be a crucial moment of the game, because with the match drawing to a close, Robin Knoche ventured forward at a corner and thumped a header into the net. Kiel piled forward in the closing stages, but the damage was already done and the Wolves held on to retain their Bundesliga status for another year.
- The home team enjoyed 56.85 per cent of possession, to Wolfsburg's 43.15 per cent. Kiel, who finished third in Bundesliga 2, were looking to gain promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time. They were only promoted from the third division last season.The match was Anfang's final outing as Kiel coach, before he takes charge of relegated Bundesliga club Cologne.Wolfsburg contested the 2017 relegation play-off, winning home and away against Eintracht Braunschweig.The Wolves had 13 attempts on goal to Kiel's 11 in this game. The team from the Bundesliga has prevailed in 15 of the 20 relegation play-offs, including eight of the last nine.
Kiel: Kronholm - Herrmann (Peitz 80'), Schmidt, Czichos (c), van den Bergh - Mühling, Kinsombi - Schindler, Weilandt (Janzer 76'), Seydel - Ducksch
Unused substitutes: Kruse, Lenz, Hoheneder, Heidinger, Lewerenz
Absentees: Drexler (thigh)
Coach: Markus Anfang
Wolfsburg: Casteels – William, Brooks, Knoche, Uduokhai – Guilavogui, Arnold (c) – Brekalo (Blaszczykowski 90+2'), Malli (Camacho 76'), Steffen – Origi (Dimata 84')
Unused substitutes: Grün, Bruma, Gerhardt, Rexhbecaj
Absentees: Tisserand (thigh), Bazoer (knee), Osimhen (shoulder), Mehmedi (foot), Didavi (Achilles), Verhaegh (head)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia