St. Pauli return to 1. Bundesliga after 13 year wait, Holstein Kiel join them for debut season

May 14 – Cult Hamburg club St. Pauli have returned to Germany’s top division after a 13-year absence.

Pauli were promoted alongside fellow northern side Holstein Kiel, who reached the German topflight for the first time after a home draw against third-placed Fortuna Dusseldorf at the weekend.

“It’s indescribable. We were able to give something back to the fans for their incredible support,” said St Pauli coach Fabian Huerzeler. “It’s an extreme relief and the crowning glory of our season.”

Skipper Jackson Irvine added: “I’m completely overwhelmed. It’s just incredible to see how much it means to people, not just us. Unglaublich (Incredible)! We’ve all invested so much, week in, week out. And it’s a huge honour to be captain of this team, something I don’t take for granted.”

Known for their skull and crossbones flag and identification with left-wing causes, Pauli have an international reputation which is larger than their sporting achievements. The skull-and-crossbones was first carried by squatters and supporters are known to sympathise with the poor and less fortunate in society,

Pauli’s promotion, the sixth in club history, is even sweeter given city rivals Hamburg SV again missed out on returning to the top division. Hamburg, the 1983 European Cup winners, were relegated for the first time in 2017-18 but have failed to return to the Bundesliga in the six seasons since.

Meanwhile Holstein Kiel gained automatic promotion for the first time ever.

The club was founded in 1900 and won a German Championship in 1912. In recent years, it was promoted to the third division in 2013, and reached the second division in 2017 for the first time in 36 years.

Kiel will be the 58th club in the Bundesliga since the league’s formation in 1963, and the first from the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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