Holstein Kiel go into the second leg of their relegation play-off against VfL Wolfsburg on Monday night hoping to upset the form book as they bid for a place in the Bundesliga.
Kiel will become only the second 2. Bundesliga club in the last nine playoffs to go up if they prove victorious, but first they will have to turn around a 3-1 deficit from Thursday’s first leg at the Volkswagen Arena
Wolfsburg hold the advantage thanks to first-leg goals from Liverpool loanee Divock Origi, Josip Brekalo and Yunus Malli, although they didn’t have it all their own way in Wolfsburg as the lower division club pushed them all the way.
Kiel will certainly pose a threat at home, and should have grabbed a crucial second away goal when top scorer Marvin Ducksch missed a sitter late on, failing to add to his 18 goals this season.
So viele Chancen, aber der Anschlusstreffer wollte einfach nicht mehr fallen, obwohl er mehr als verdient gewesen wäre! 🙁 So müssen die #Störche im Rückspiel ein ganz schön dickes Brett bohren – doch nichts ist unmöglich! 💪 #WOBKSV 3:1 #NurHolsteinKiel #Relegation #KielAhoi pic.twitter.com/OmJWAlqu5o
— Holstein Kiel (@Holstein_Kiel) May 17, 2018
“We played really well after their third goal and it was one-way traffic for the final 20 to 30 minutes,” said Kiel coach Markus Anfang. “I think we deserved to get a draw. It’s a shame we weren’t able to do so.”
Anfang will be keen to deliver the goods for Kiel, especially as it his last game in charge. His managerial exploits having earned him a chance in the hot seat at relegated FC Koln next season.
Kiel are trying to make the Bundesliga for the first time in their history in what would be a second-consecutive promotion after coming up from 3. Bundesliga a year earlier.
Should Wolfsburg survive, it will mark the second season in a row they have prevailed in the relegation playoff. Although coach Bruno Labbadia is not expecting an easy time.
“I’m expecting another tough encounter on Monday,” he said after Thursday’s win. “We know what to expect and we’re aware that we haven’t achieved anything yet other than a first-leg victory.”