BERLIN (Reuters) – VfL Wolfsburg will stay in the Bundesliga next season after beating second division Holstein Kiel 1-0 on Monday to win their relegation playoff 4-1 on aggregate.
The game lacked the intensity of the first encounter in Wolfsburg last week as a 75th-minute Robin Knoche header gave the 2009 Bundesliga champions their second consecutive relegation playoff success, after they also survived last season.
Kiel, who came into the tie as the second division’s top scorers, were missing attacking midfielder Dominick Drexler, who was sidelined with an injury, and rarely threatened.
The Wolves, owned by car maker Volkswagen, had clinched 16th place in the final game of yet another disappointing season in which Cologne and Hamburg SV were relegated.
They looked content to protect their 3-1 first-leg advantage until Knoche was left with far too much space in the box to head in the winner.
Second division champions Fortuna Dusseldorf and second-placed Nuremberg won automatic promotion to the Bundesliga.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)