Holstein Kiel will finish third in the 2. Bundesliga and play in the relegation play-off against the 16th-placed Bundesliga side as they drew 1-1 with Fortuna Düsseldorf and other results went their way.
Marvin Ducksch saved them a point on Sunday after Benito Raman’s goal for the hosts, but their chances of automatic promotion were ended by 1. FC Nürnberg’s victory at SV Sandhausen.
Elsewhere in the division, SV Darmstadt 98 stormed out of the bottom three but remain one of six teams that could be relegated next weekend. FC Ingolstadt 04, 1. FC Union Berlin and FC St. Pauli all won to secure their survival.
Honours even in Düsseldorf as Kiel book play-off place
There were no goals in the first half in Düsseldorf, although Kiel had an early goal disallowed after Dominick Drexler was caught offside. Takashi Usami had come close for the hosts, but Kiel’s most dangerous spell came just before the break, with a big save from Raphael Wolf just ahead of Rafael Czichos, whilst Ducksch saw a shot deflected wide by Havard Nielsen.
In the second half, Düsseldorf were denied a clear penalty when a ball from Genki Haraguchi hit the out-stretched arm of Patrick Herrmann. They eventually took the lead 15 minutes from time though when Raman scored, less than ten minutes after coming from the bench, as a header from Kingsley Schindler accidentally fell right at him, Kiel having failed to clear when a Haraguchi shot was saved.
Kiel responded almost immediately with the equaliser. Ducksch and Drexler exchanged a one-two, Drexler back-heeling the ball to Ducksch, who then got the ball through the legs of Robin Bormuth and finishing his 18th goal of the season. There were no more goals, with a pitch invasion at full-time as Düsseldorf’s fans celebrated their already-confirmed promotion.
The draw wasn’t ideal for them though, due to Nürnberg’s win, which moved them top ahead of Düssedorf on goal difference. Whilst the point by itself wouldn’t have been enough to confirm Kiel finish in the top three, all of the sides that could have overtaken them were beaten on Sunday, so even if they’d lost a play-off would have been confirmed. They will play one of VfL Wolfsburg, Hamburger SV or SC Freiburg in a couple of weeks’ time.
Darmstadt win but remain one of six sides in relegation danger
Darmstadt had started the day second bottom, despite going into their match with SSV Jahn Regensburg on the back of a nine-match unbeaten streak, but their 3-0 victory moved them up three places to 14th, given Dirk Schuster’s hope of avoiding a second-successive relegation. Joevin Jones’s free-kick got them started, with further goals from Dong-Won Ji and Tobias Kempe in the second half.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth also started the day in the bottom three and they ended it in 17th after a 2-2 with MSV Duisburg. Marco Caligiuri put then ahead before the break but two quick goals from Oris Tashchy and Cauly Oliveira Souza left them in big trouble, before Sebastian Ernst at least saved them a point. Eintracht Braunschweig, who finished third last season, are in the ‘wrong’ play-off spot now after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of now-safe Ingolstadt.
Erzgebirge Aue and Dynamo Dresden could both still finish in the bottom three after sharing a goalless draw in the Saxony derby. 1. FC Heidenheim are also not safe after a lone goal from Sebastian Andersson gave already-relegated 1. FC Kaiserslautern a 1-0 victory. Realistically though, Dresden and Heidenheim can only finish as low as 16th, provided they avoid heavy defeats next week, against Union Berlin and Fürth respectively.
Union Berlin themselves though can breathe a sigh of relief, as they 3-1 victory over VfL Bochum made certain of their second-tier status, with Steven Skrzybski making sure of the win after Bochum had threatened a late comeback. St. Pauli will also be in the 2. Bundesliga next week, after ending Arminia Bielefeld’s faint promotion hopes, with a solitary goal from Yi-Young Park.
Key 2. Bundesliga Matchday 34 Fixtures
1. FC Heidenheim vs SpVgg Greuther Fürth
1. FC Nürnberg vs Fortuna Düsseldorf
Holstein Kiel vs Eintracht Braunschweig
Dynamo Dresden vs 1. FC Union Berlin
SV Darmstadt 98 vs Erzgebirge Aue