Eintracht Braunschweig have been promoted back to the 2. Bundesliga after a dramatic penultimate matchday in the 3. Liga.
Marco Antwerpen’s side, surprisingly relegated from the second tier in 2018, have been in superb form since the restart with their only defeat coming against FSV Zwickau at the weekend.
They beat Waldorf Mannheim 3-2 on Wednesday, having been twice pegged back, with two goals from star man Martin Kobylanski.
That wasn’t enough to secure promotion itself, but a late equaliser from Bayern Munich II’s Leon Dajaku against MSV Duisburg means the Zebras, managed by former Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht, can no longer catch die Löwen.
Braunschweig are only second but with leaders Bayern II unable to be promoted, a top three finish is enough.
Third-placed Würzburger Kickers were hammered 5-1 by Viktoria Köln but nevertheless are now guaranteed at least a play-off place. They will battle it out with FC Ingolstadt 04, who lost to 1. FC Magdeburg, on the final day on Saturday for the last automatic promotion place.
Three more clubs – Duisburg, Hansa Rostock and 1860 Munich – could still beat Ingolstadt to fourth place and earn the right to play 1. FC Nürnberg in the play-off.
The last two years have been a tough ride for Braunschweig. They spent much of last season in the relegation zone but a superb Rückrunde under André Schubert saw them secure survival on the final day.
They started in much the same form under Christian Flüthmann this season, but he was let go after their form slowed down in November, to be replaced by Antwerpen. They had dropped to ninth before the season came to a halt, but an excellent run since then has seen them charge right up the table.
Their final game on Saturday is against SV Meppen, who they probably need to beat to have any chance of toppling Bayern II and adding the 3. Liga title to the promotion, with the Bayern youngsters a point ahead with a five-goal gap.