Berlin (AFP) – Holstein Kiel took a huge step closer to a first promotion to the German Bundesliga on Wednesday with a 1-0 play-off victory over Cologne.

Defender and substitute Simon Lorenz headed the only goal of the first leg from a corner just before the hour mark.

Janni Serra was unlucky not to grab a second when his 78th-minute attempt came off the crossbar with Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn stranded.

Kiel finished in third place in Bundesliga 2 this season to earn a spot in the promotion/relegation play-off against Cologne who were 16th in the top flight.

The second leg of the tie takes place on Saturday in the port city of Kiel.

Kiel have already caused shockwaves this season by defeating Bayern Munich in the second round of the German Cup.