VfL Wolfsburg guaranteed their Bundesliga survival on Monday as Euro 2016-winner Vieirinha scored to secure a 1-0 win away at Eintracht Braunschweig that sealed a 2-0 aggregate victory in their relegation play-off.
Having won last Tuesday’s home-leg 1-0 thanks to a Mario Gomez penalty, Wolfsburg were safe as Vieirinha smashed home the winning goal on the night just after the break.
Yunus Malli’s shot was saved, but the ball fell to the Portugal winger, who hit the back of the net with a first-time strike from the edge of the area.
It was heartbreak for Braunschweig, who finished third in Germany’s second division to earn their chance to face Wolfsburg, the 2009 German champions who finished 16th in the Bundesliga.
“I am happy and relieved,” said Andries Jonker - Wolfsburg’s third coach this season after Dieter Hecking and Valerien Ismael were fired in October and February respectively. “I also understand the relief of players and fans, but that was the absolute minimum we had to achieve - I see no reason to celebrate,” added the Dutchman.
“I’m just happy for the fans, I felt so sorry for them after we lost 6-0 to Bayern Munich at home (on April 29).”
Jonker can now plan for playing in Germany’s top flight next season while Braunschweig will play in the second division.
VfB Stuttgart and Hanover 96 were automatically promoted to the top flight, taking the place of Darmstadt and Ingolstadt, who were relegated.