Germany: 2. Bundesliga
FT
1 - 1
(1 - 0)
Holstein Kiel
Düsseldorf
B. Pichler (2)
C. Tzolis (70)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Holstein Kiel secure promotion to the Bundesliga

Holstein Kiel have secured promotion to Germany's top footballing flight for the first time in their history!

After failing to earn promotion via the playoffs twice (most recently three years ago against Köln) Holstein Kiel have secured automatic promotion to Germany's top footballing division for the first time since the formation of the Bundesliga. The "Storks of Schleswig-Holstein" once played in North Germany's top footballing tier, but have never made it to the Bundesrepublik's unified elite division. 

Following Hamburger SV's loss to Paderborn 07 last night, the top three teams in the 2023/24 2. Bundesliga have been confirmed. A 1-1 draw at home against Fortuna Düsseldorf proved sufficient to ensure that Kiel will finish the season in the top two places. Whether or Marcel Rapp's team can capture the 2. Bundesliga championship remains to be seen. FC St. Pauli can overtake Kiel tomorrow with a win over relegated VfL Osnabrück.

Kiel were able to rush out to an early lead via a Benedikt Pichler goal in the 2nd minute. The early tally featured some top class set-up work from BVB loanee Tom Rothe. Die Störche regrettably missed many chances over the course of the match to increase their lead and were made to pay when Christos Tzolis equalized from the penalty spot in the 70th. 

A sold-out crowd at Holstein-Stadion were left to sweat out the final 20 minutes as the visiting Flingeraner pressed hard for the victory. Keeper Timon Weiner made thankfully matched the effervescent energy of the crowd and made some dazzling saves down the stretch. Defender Patrick Erras also worked his socks off and made several vital clearances.

The point gained by Düsseldorf gives the F95 an outside chance of avoiding the playoffs, but St. Pauli need only to draw tomorrow in order to secure their own automatic promotion back to the top flight. Hamburg's "Kiezkicker" last featured in the Oberhaus for a one-year-stint in 2010/11.
 

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