Play-off joy for Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim preserved their Bundesliga status after a 5-2 aggregate victory over Kaiserslautern in a play-off.
Last Updated: 27/05/13 10:10pm
Hoffenheim preserved their Bundesliga status after a 2-1 win at Kaiserslautern gave them a 5-2 aggregate victory in their play-off for a place in Germany's top flight next season.
Tobias Sippel did all he could to keep Kaiserslautern's hopes of overturning their first-leg deficit alive, making a series of stunning saves before succumbing to David Abraham's effort just before half-time.
Alexander Baumjohann then gave the hosts some hope but they were dashed by Jannik Vestergaard's header, which sealed an aggregate win for Markus Gisdol's men.
Sejad Salihovic proved to be a thorn in the side of the Kaiserslautern defence early on and curled a free-kick just over the crossbar.
Sippel came into his own after giving away a penalty for a foul on Kevin Volland by pushing Salihovic's spot-kick over the crossbar.
He then denied the same player again before getting caught out when his next save from a Salihovic header came back off the crossbar to Abraham, who nodded it in from point-blank range.
Kaiserslautern did not give up, however, and after Sippel made a great save with his foot to deny Volland, they levelled with Baumjohann's 25-yard free-kick.
The home side sent men forward in search of a second, which they thought they had got minutes later, but Mahamadou Idrissou's header was ruled out for a tight but correct offside decision.
Hoffenheim then ended the Red Devils' hopes when Vestergaard rose to power in a header from a corner, leaving Lautern needing four goals in 15 minutes - an insurmountable task.
Hoffenheim therefore saved their Bundesliga status, leaving Kaiserslautern in the second division to try their luck again next season.