Stuttgart's Konstantinos Mavropanos (l) and Hamburg's Bakery Jatta fight for the ball. © Tom Weller/dpa
Clear advantage for VfB Stuttgart! Hamburger SV is threatened with a sixth season in the second Bundesliga. Stuttgart, on the other hand, are close to a non-relegation party.
Stuttgart - Visibly disappointed, Tim Walter put on his hoodie and applauded his dejected HSV professionals. After a real lesson at VfB Stuttgart, the Hamburgers need a football miracle for promotion to the Bundesliga. The third-placed team lost 0-3 (0-1) in the first part of the relegation drama on Thursday and will have to improve massively in the second leg next Monday (20:45 CET/Sat.1 and Sky) in order to somehow replace Stuttgart as a Bundesliga club. To make matters worse, Anssi Suhonen, who had come on as a substitute shortly before, was shown the red card after a hard, unsportsmanlike foul (69th).
"It's hard to put into words," said sporting director Jonas Boldt at Sky, the team got "on the face". "Relatively little worked today." It is contrary to his nature "if I give something away. But such an achievement, such a result does not make it any easier. (...) That must be a miracle."
Konstantinos Mavropanos after a few seconds, former HSV player Josha Vagnoman (51st minute) and Serhou Guirassy (54th) put VfB in the best position with their goals to avert the third relegation since 2016 in the relegation. Guirassy missed another penalty for a foul (27th), in the first half the dominant Bundesliga club could have scored more goals in front of 47,500 spectators in the sold-out arena. Walter's HSV team, who once had to leave VfB in discord, did not take place offensively for a long time.
Mavropanos celebrated his powerful header into the goal with his tongue sticking out. In the block of HSV fans who had traveled with them, who had ignited smoke bombs shortly before, it suddenly became very quiet. Last year, the Hamburg team failed in the relegation play-off against Hertha BSC with ex-coach Felix Magath - HSV had conceded a very early goal in the second leg.
From Hamburg's point of view, things could have gotten worse in Stuttgart sooner when Chris Führich appeared in the HSV penalty area with pace. But goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes parried the 25-year-old's shot (9th). Stuttgart showed a class difference in their attacks, HSV had great difficulty keeping the VfB offensive around Guirassy away.
The 27-year-old striker, who had just been signed by Stade Rennes, failed within a few minutes on two more huge chances, one of them from the penalty spot, to Heuer Fernandes (23rd and 27th). The penalty was awarded by Ludovit Reis. Führich also failed once again at the HSV goalkeeper (29th). In the Stuttgart goal, substitute Florian Müller stood in place of the injured regular goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow.
For both clubs, there is a lot at stake in the relegation. The financial cuts for VfB would be in the double-digit million range in the event of relegation, HSV wants to spare itself its sixth year in the 2nd league at all costs. After about half an hour, the guests briefly came dangerously in front of the Stuttgart Gate. A shot by Robert Glatzel was blocked (35th).
HSV coach Walter experienced his extraordinary return with his usual energy on the sidelines. With the Badener, VfB had gone into the last second league season so far, after only half a year, Walter had to leave the day before Christmas Eve 2019. "It's going to be a great game: VfB Stuttgart, great club, against HSV, big club," Walter teased. For the "great club", Mavropanos missed the next good chance with a header in injury time in the first half.
Vagnoman then rewarded Stuttgart after assists from Führich and Enzo Millot. The fans in the Cannstatter Kurve celebrated loudly, the Hamburg-born goal scorer visibly held back. Guirassy, who finally scored, finally made the decision in the first leg. Even if on the other side Glatzel missed the best Hamburg chance so far with a header (59th). The Hamburgers improved until the final whistle, but it remained with the big mortgage for the second leg. Dpa