Holstein Kiel have a huge chance at securing promotion to the German top flight after a gutsy 1-0 win away at 1.FC Köln in the first leg of the relegation play-off.
A header in the 59th minute from Simon Lorenz has given the 2. Bundesliga side a priceless away goal and a significant advantage going into the 2nd leg on their home turf on Saturday (29th May).
The Billy Goats had many more chances compared to their lower league counterparts, but they could not find the target or cause any problems for the guardian of the Kiel net, Ioannis Gelios. Köln had many a chance, including one in the 32nd minute, when a corner hadn't been cleared properly by Holstein Kiel and Noah Katterbach hooked the ball into the penalty area, Jonas Hector and Gelios went up for the ball with Gelios getting his hands to the ball before it became dislodged and Hector sent it goalwards. The referee Felix Zwayer blew his whistle to indicate a foul on Gelios by Hector.
First-half chances were very few and far between for the visiting side, with a header from Janni Serra being the only attempt on target in the half, and a strike from Finn Porath which flew wide of Timo Horn's post.
Second-half substitute Dominick Drexler came on and caused plenty of problems for the Kiel defence, including a great ball into the middle where 2 Köln players were waiting unmarked. One of those was the captain Hector who got the touch and somehow missed the target from 3 yards out.
Then the all-important goal. The corner was taken by Finn Porath towards the back post, Lee Jae-Sung was the Kiel man at the back post and he forced Katterbach into an error, which sent his header back into the danger area, and Simon Lorenz, who had just come on before the corner was taken, rose highest and headed home into the far corner.
It could have been even better for Die Störche, as Janni Serra crashed a header against the crossbar which would've almost certainly been a dagger to Köln's chances of staging a comeback. However, resolute defending from the Kiel rearguard meant the away goal and clean sheet was kept intact and means that Kiel take a 1-0 lead back to the Holstein-Stadion.
The Billy Goats have it all to do in the 2nd leg to preserve their Bundesliga status, meanwhile, the force and the good feeling is definitely behind the 2. Bundesliga side.
The second leg takes place at the Holstein-Stadion on Saturday 29th May.