Stuttgart and Hannover seal Bundesliga promotion, Braunschweig in playoff | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 21.05.2017
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Stuttgart and Hannover seal Bundesliga promotion, Braunschweig in playoff

A year after dropping to the second tier, Stuttgart and Hannover have confirmed their return to the top flight. Eintracht Braunschweig will navigate a relegation playoff against Wolfsburg this week.

VfB Stuttgart secured an immediate return to the Bundesliga and the second-division championship thanks to a 4-1 win over Würzburger Kickers at a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Stuttgart will be joined in the top flight by Hannover, who also managed a prompt return to the top flight, despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Sandhausen. Eintracht Braunschweig beat Karlsruhe 2-1 which guarantees third place and a clash against Wolfsburg in the promotion/relegation playoff.

With a strong squad and impressive young coach Hannes Wolf, Stuttgart led the race for promotion from the off. Their victory on Matchday 34 moved them on to 69 points for the season, two ahead of Hannover.

Averaging 50,000 spectators across the season, Stuttgart's supporters crammed into the Mercedes-Benz Arena for a final-day party.

More than 60,000 thronged the Canstatter Wasen festival area for a public viewing event in the center of the south-western city.

Wolf's side took the lead with a 30-yard screamer from Matthias Zimmermann after 32 minutes - his first league goal of the season.

The Swabians were two up after 59 minutes when Simon Terrode finished off a great counterattack, led by Daniel Ginczek. Tobias Schröck pulled one back for the visitors 12 minutes from time, but Stuttgart responded immediately with Terrode's 25th goal of the campaign. Ginczek netted their fourth in the 89th.

Hannover edge up, Braunschweig third

Hannover confirmed their promotion to the Bundesliga at mid-table Sandhausen.

Andre Breitenreiter's team bounced back after going behind on 57 minutes to a Thomas Pledl goal with an equalizer three minutes later from Florian Hübner.

Braunschweig, who are celebrating 50 years since their sole Bundesliga title, earned three points with a hard-fought win over already-relegated Karlsruhe, but it wasn't enough to sneak into second.

Torsten Lieberknecht's side will aim to become the first second-tier team since 2012 to beat the Bundesliga's third-bottom side, when they take on Wolfsburg.

Braunschweig face their local rivals at the Volkswagen Arena on Thursday before the return leg on Monday May 29.