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2nd League: Holidays in the north: Kiel and St. Pauli celebrate promotion

2nd League: Holidays in the north: Kiel and St. Pauli celebrate promotion

Two northern clubs decided the question of promotion in the second division before the last matchday. Holstein Kiel is celebrating a big surprise, FC St. Pauli is celebrating its return to the Bundesliga.

The football north is celebrating. One day after Bundesliga newcomers Holstein Kiel, FC St. Pauli also achieved promotion to the first division.

The Hamburg team completed their return to the Bundesliga after 13 years with a 3-1 (1-0) win against VfL Osnabrück. Just like Kiel, they can no longer be pushed out of the two direct promotion places in the 2nd Bundesliga after their 1-1 (1-0) draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf. In both stadiums, thousands of fans stormed onto the pitch after the final whistle.

“I’m extremely happy for the team, for the whole city, we deserve this. I’m very, very happy to be the coach of this team,” said Pauli coach Fabian Hürzeler on Sky: “Success is based on hard work .”. One of the first to congratulate FC St. Pauli was their once again failed neighbor Hamburger SV. “Despite all the rivalry: congratulations on your promotion,” it said via X.

Afolayan becomes the hero of the day

In Kiel, former national player Lewis Holtby expressed all the promotion euphoria: “Nobody expected us. You saw in the eyes of every single player: There’s fire in them. That’s why we more than deserve to be in the Bundesliga go!”

The official promotion celebrations for both clubs should not take place until Whit Monday after the last match day. The great jubilation erupted in Kiel and the Hamburg neighborhood this weekend. In the Holstein Stadium, the first fans ran onto the pitch before the final whistle. Fireworks over the arena, car parades into the city: the sports city of Kiel has never experienced a party like this, even after the THW handball players’ four Champions League victories.

At FC St. Pauli, promotion day began with a fan march of around 4,000 supporters to the Millerntor. In the stadium itself there was a promotion poster with the inscription: “The sun rises in the north”. The hero of the day was the Englishman Oladapo Afolayan, who scored two of the three goals in front of 29,546 spectators (7th/58th minute). Hürzeler was carried on the shoulders of fans after the final whistle.

The two northern clubs were not among the big favorites for promotion before the season. These roles were distributed to the long-standing first division clubs Hamburger SV, Schalke 04 and Hertha BSC. Kiel, on the other hand, had to cope with a major upheaval. And at FC St. Pauli, Hürzeler only took over his team as the youngest coach in German professional football in December 2022 in 15th place in the table.

Fortuna Düsseldorf plays the relegation

But at the end of this season, the neighborhood club will have been in one of the top two places on 28 of 34 match days and the surprise team Kiel will have been in 20 of 34. No other club, no matter how well-known, can come close to these results.

“This is a success for everyone. Everyone stayed calm. We were always able to work in the shade,” said Kiel sports director Uwe Stöver, who will be leaving the club at the height of the club’s history. “We don’t have the media volume like the traditional clubs. And if you can work in peace, then you can make a difference.”

Fortuna Düsseldorf is one of those traditional clubs that can no longer come close to Kiel and St. Pauli, but since this weekend they have been confirmed as participants in the two relegation games on May 23rd and 27th ahead of HSV or Hertha. “We have played an incredibly good season and we agree that there is nothing left to lose,” said coach Daniel Thioune. “We have two bonus games. That’s the crunch time we’ve earned.”

Source: Stern

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