VfL Wolfsburg defeated Holstein Kiel, 3-1, at the Volkswagen Arena in the first leg of Bundesliga relegation playoffs.
Divock Origi opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Kingsley Schindler brought things level for the visitors in the 34th minute, before Josip Brekalo re-established Wolfsburg’s lead in the 40th minute. Yunus Malli added what could be the deciding goal in the 56th minute. Holstein Kiel pushed for a crucial second away goal, but was unable to convert despite a plethora of chances.
The decisive second leg is on Monday, May 21st at the Holstein-Stadion.
Wolfsburg – seemingly eons away from trophy winning seasons in 2009 and 2015 – finished the 2017-2018 Bundesliga season in 16th place; Holstein Kiel placed third in the 2. Bundesliga.
American center back John Anthony Brooks started and played 90 minutes for Wolfsburg. The 6’4” defender only recently made his return to the lineup after a long injury layoff.
Brooks – who has earned 33 caps with the USMNT since debuting in 2013 – joined Wolfsburg last summer after spending his entire youth and professional career with Hertha BSC.
American goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm had a match to forget for Holstein Kiel, letting in a few preventable goals. The 32-year old journeyman has made 86 league appearances for The Storks since joining the club in 2014. Perhaps he will redeem himself in the second leg and lead his club to its first ever season in the top flight. If not, well, there’s always next season.