Wolfsburg beats Kiel 3-1 to boost Bundesliga survival hopes

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Wolfsburg took a big step toward Bundesliga survival with a 3-1 win over visiting Holstein Kiel in the first leg of a relegation/promotion playoff on Thursday.

Goals from Divock Origi and Josip Brekalo in the first half and another from Yunus Malli in the second put Wolfsburg in a good position ahead of the second leg in Kiel on Monday.

Kingsley Schindler had briefly pulled the visitors level.

Kiel had a late penalty appeal when Rafael Czichos, the captain, appeared to be shoved by counterpart Maximilian Arnold, but referee Deniz Aytekin allowed play to continue and there was no intervention from the video referee.

Wolfsburg, which finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga, is playing in its second playoff in as many years. The Volkswagen-backed club defeated Eintracht Braunschweig to stay up last year.

Kiel, the third-place finisher in its first appearance in the second tier since 1981, is bidding to reach the Bundesliga for the first time to cap a remarkable ascent. The northern city club was promoted from the third division last season and from the fourth tier four seasons before that.