1. FC Kaiserslautern returned to the 2. Bundesliga after four years away with a thrilling 2-1 win over Hannover 96 at Fritz-Walter Stadium.
A sold-out crowd of over 50,000 saw the red devils jump ahead in the 11th minute thanks to Mike Wunderlich.
A much improved performance by Hannover saw them equalize through substitution Harvard Nielsen.
The match seemed to be heading for a draw until the defender Kevin Kraus grabbed a stoppage time winner.
History of the game
Kaiserslautern almost stunned Hannover in five minutes with a free kick from Hendrick Zuck finally found a way to Ben Zolinski, but an interception by a Hannover defender prevented the chance.
The hosts took the lead when a long ball down the right was held back by Borner, but his back pass attempt was short. Ron-Robert Zieler, Terrence Boyd intercept and square for Wunderlich, who tapped home.
Wunderlich and Zolinski traded passes just outside Hanover’s area, the latter nodding for the former, who volleyed a left-footed volley just wide of the far post.
Hannover had half a chance on the half hour when Kohn crossed in the middle to Hendrik Weydandt, but a Kaiserslautern defender was on hand to ward off the danger.
There was an early change for the red devils as Zolinski limped off with an apparent knee injury, replaced by Kenny Redondo.
The Kaiserslautern substitute took possession of the ball while undressing Louis Schaub from the ball and tried, but Zieler got to his right to save the low shot that was heading for the corner.
Four minutes into the second half, the ball fell for Julien Niehues, who completed one from 25 yards, Zieler comfortably saving.
The match was halted until a quarter of an hour remained, a 30-yard free kick from Kerk seemed to go in, but Andreas Luthe dove to his right to get away from his right hand.
More pressure from the visitors allowed Kerk’s free-kick to find the head of Maximilien Beier, who glanced at the back post, but Luthe was on hand to make another great save.
Finally, the equalizer came when Kaiserslautern failed to clear a ball from the left, Boris Tomiak totally missed a clearance, falling on Nielsen, who came home on his 29th birthday.
Five minutes from time the visitors nearly grabbed a winner, Dehm with a clear view of the goal from 12 yards out, but missed the post.
In the stoppage time of the second half, the red devils found a winner. Everyone stepped forward from a corner and when Hannover failed to clear, Kraus pushed from close range.