Stuttgart beats Hamburg in first leg of Bundesliga playoff
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Hamburger SV’s five-year wait to rejoin the Bundesliga looks set to continue.
Serhou Guirassy helped to put Stuttgart in a commanding position to keep its place in Germany’s top division with a 3-0 win over Hamburg on Thursday in the first leg of their playoff.
Guirassy had failed to make the most of a one-on-one chance and had a penalty saved in the first half, but the Guinea forward grabbed Stuttgart’s third goal early in the second half.
Hamburg’s task was further complicated in the 69th minute when substitute Anssi Suhonen was sent off minutes after coming on for a studs-up lunge at Josha Vagnoman’s thigh.
The win puts Stuttgart, which finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga, on course to stay in the first division before the second leg of the playoff in Hamburg on Monday. Hamburg finished third in the second division.
There was a minute’s silence before Thursday’s game in tribute to the 15-year-old player who died after a post-match brawl at an international youth tournament in Frankfurt last weekend.
Stuttgart got off to a great start with Konstantinos Mavropanos heading the opener inside the first minute.
The visitors had Daniel Heuer Fernandes to thank for keeping the score down. The Hamburg goalkeeper saved from Chris Führich, then got the better of Guirassy in a one-on-one, and also saved Guirassy’s penalty in the 27th. Two minutes later he produced another save to deflect Führich’s effort away.
Führich effectively created the second goal in the 51st when he eluded two Hamburg defenders and played a perfectly weighted pass for Enzo Millot, who crossed for the unmarked Vagnoman to score.
Guirassy finally scored with a header to a corner three minutes later.
Hamburg, the last remaining founding member of the Bundesliga, was relegated in 2018 and has been bidding for promotion since. It finished fourth in 2019, 2020 and 2021 before finishing third last year for a playoff against Hertha Berlin. Hertha prevailed on that occasion.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports