The state capital of Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost major city in Germany, (barring Flensburg perhaps) with almost 250,000 inhabitants, and is located right on the Baltic Sea. When you think of Kiel, you usually think of seafaring, the Kiel Fjord with its naval memorial, museums or even the medieval Nikolai Church. Kiel has traditionally been the important base of the German Navy and is known for its annual sailing event, "Kieler Woche" ("Kieler Week"). Aside from the football team, the city is particularly known for its handball club THW Kiel, who are the German handball record champions.
The Holstein-Stadion in Kiel is one of the oldest venues in Germany. The stadium was opened in 1911 and today it has a seated capacity of 15,034 spectators. When it first opened, however, the stadium was much much smaller; for the first match played at the ground, on 15 October 1911, the wooden grandstand only had room for 200 spectators. Over the years, the Holstein-Stadion has been renovated or expanded 15 times, the last time of which happened in 2019.
Die Kieler Sportvereinigung Holstein von 1900, kurz Holstein Kiel, ist ein Fußballverein mit viel Tradition. Bis zur Einführung der Bundesliga gehörten die im Volksmund Störche genannten Kieler der höchsten deutschen Spielklasse an. In der Bundesliga spielte Holstein Kiel noch nicht. Für eine Premiere sorgte der Verein im Jahr 1957: Die Oberliga-Nord-Partie gegen Altona 93 war die erste, die im deutschen Fernsehen über die volle Spielzeit übertragen wurde.
Holstein Kiel celebrated their great successes in the years immediately after their foundation. In 1912 the club won the German championship. In 1910 and 1930 Kiel also finished runners-up. In addition, they won six North German championships and came second in North German league seven times between 1910 and 1932. In 1961 Kiel also won a German Amateur championship. The greatest success in recent history was the club's recent promotion to 2. Bundesliga in 2017 and their third place finish in the league in 2018.
32-year-old Ole Werner has been head coach of Holstein Kiel since 16 September 2019 - and is currently the youngest professional head coach in Germany. He replaced Andre Schubert, first as interim and then as head coach. At the same time, Werner has been completing his football coaching license. After a slow start to the season, the coach led die Störche out of the relegation zone up to 10th place, with five points from six games before the winter break. Kiel's captain Hauke Wahl has special praise for his coach: "He simply has a very clear plan for how he wants to play football. And - to use an overstatement - we're much better at that than running around the pitch like headless chickens," he said, describing the work of his coach.
HEAD TO HEAD
The VfL has so far encountered Holstein Kiel six times in competitive matches. VfL won their first encounter in the DFB Cup on November 6, 2002, when Dariusz Wosz and Paul Freier scored against the then-Regionnalliga team to win the game 2-0. In the five matches in the 2. Bundesliga, VfL are still without a win. The first match this season up north ended in a 2-1 defeat for VfL. After Silvère Ganvoula was able to make up VfL going 1-0 down early one with one of the most curious and controversial penalty decisions in history (substitute Eberwein touched the ball before it fully went off the pitch), former VfL player Janni Serra, of all people, scored the winning goal in the second half. All in all, the 2. Bundesliga record has two draws and three defeats in the books from a Bochum perspective. It's high time we broke this run.
AS IT STANDS
Die Störche can probably expect a rather quiet remainder of the season, not only because of the lack of noise in the stands. Until the coronavirus-forced break, Werner's team were seventh in the league, ten points behind third spot and possible promotion to the Bundesliga and nine clear of the relegation zone and 16th. The restart saw Kiel a point in a 2-2 draw at SSV Jahn Regensburg, with Kiel losing a 2-0 lead and conceding in stoppage time to drop two points. In the first home match without fans in Kiel's history, promotion candidates VfB Stuttgart were guests. The game ended in a 3-2 win for Kiel, which means they remain in seventh in a tightly packed mid-table.