Holstein Kiel earns first ever promotion to Bundesliga

Sat, May 11, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Holstein Kiel earns first ever promotion to Bundesliga

KIEL, Germany (AP) - Benedikt Pichler's early goal was enough to earn Bundesliga promotion for Holstein Kiel after drawing at home with Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-1 on Saturday.

Pichler scored in the second minute to ensure Kiel will finish among the top two in Germany's second division for automatic promotion to the top-flight.

"We've rewarded ourselves for a fantastic season," Kiel captain Philipp Sander said. "I don't think I'll sleep tonight."

Kiel supporters stormed the field and set off flares inside the ground after the final whistle, while supporters outside set off fireworks.

Kiel was founded in 1900 and won a German Championship in 1912. In recent years, it was promoted to the third division in 2013, and reached the second division in 2017 for the first time in 36 years.

Kiel will be the 58th club in the Bundesliga since the league's formation in 1963, and the first from the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Dusseldorf was already assured of finishing at least third for the two-leg playoff against the team that finishes third from bottom in the Bundesliga - currently Union Berlin - to see which one will play in the top division next season.

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St. Pauli, which hosts relegated Osnabruck on Sunday, is virtually assured of promotion. A draw will be enough on Sunday, though the question of which team finishes second division champion still needs to be answered.

Kiel was on 65 points with one game to play, St. Pauli had 63 with two remaining, and Dusseldorf followed on 60 before its final game.

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