Berlin, May 28 (IANS) Hoffenheim ensured their sixth season in first division following a 2-1 (5-2 on aggregate) victory over Kaiserslautern at the relegation play-off match.
Second division side Kaiserslautern needed a 2-0 victory, after the 1-3 loss last week, to promote into Bundesliga but instead Hoffenheim piled on the pace from kick-off. Both sides showed commitment and the will to snatch a victory with rough tackles, reports Xinhua.
However, with 27 minutes into the encounter, Hoffenheim worked out the first chance when Sejad Salihovic passed into the path of Kevin Volland, who was brought down inside the box by Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Tobias Sippel causing a penalty for the hosts. Salihovic stepped up to take the penalty shot but Sippel tipped the ball over the bar to deny the opener.
Kaiserslautern tried to utilise the momentum thanks to the save by Sippel but all their efforts remained short on accuracy. Kaiserslautern had to thank their goalkeeper Sippel, who again made a fine save when he denied Salihovics header from very close range at the 42nd minute.
Two minutes later Sippel was helpless though when David Abraham headed home the opener one minute before the interval.
In the second half, Kaiserslautern restored parity in the 65th minute when Alexander Baumjohann netted a free kick goal from 25 metres to give his side a glimmer of hope. But that was short-lived as Hoffenheim’s Jannik Vestergaard nodded home a corner by Salihovic (74th minute) to condemn Kaiserslautern for another season in the second division.
“We were actually dead in the season but we still grabbed the chance to stay in first division. Compliment to the team. It’s just incredible,” Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol said.