Watch: Post-match celebrations
Full time! Stuttgart 3-0 Hamburg
End of second half
Zagadou gets a run-out, after missing the Hoffenheim draw with a foot problem.
Mavropanos is at full stretch to meet Pfeiffer's back-post cross, but can't steer it on target. Hamburg can count themselves very fortunate this is stilll only 3-0, with three added minutes to go.
Sosa, who's had a field day against Heyer, pings a cross ino the danger zone. Pfeiffer meets it, flicking a header narrowly wide of the far post.
Mountain to climb
As things stand, Hamburg need to score at least three goals when the two sides meet at the Volksparkstadion. Otherwise, it'll be a sixth straight season in the second tier for the Red Shorts...
The result surely in the bag and with Monday's return leg in Hamburg in mind, Hoeneß shuffles his pack for the final five minutes or so.
Incisive passing from Stuttgart presents Endo with a shooting opportunity on the edge of the HSV area. He takes it, forcing Heuer Fernandes into a sprawling save to his right.
So close to a fourth Stuttgart goal as Tomas curls a low 18-yard strike just past the far post.
A free-kick is swung into the Stuttgart area. It's cleared as far as Kittel, who has Müller beaten with his shot from the edge of the area, but Anton is in the right place at the right time - in front of the goal line - to block!
Müller gets down well to beat away Glatzel's stinging 18-yard drive. As Anton goes to complete the clearance, he's caught on the top of his outstretched boot by Königsdörffer, who goes into the book.
Hamburg down to 10 men!
Hamburg's task is made a whole late harder as substitute Anssi Suhonen is sent off for a dangerous challenge on Vagnoman. His foot was very high on the Stuttgart right-back.
Führich, who's been a thorn in the side of Hamburg all game long, heads off. Tomas is his replacement, while Pfeiffer comes on for Guirassy.
Dompe's been very subdued. Can Königsdörffer get at this well-drilled Stuttgart defence?
Change in midfield
HSV need fresh impetus. Reis, who was booked in the first half, makes way.
Off the post!
Agonising for Hamburg as Müller scrambles across his line to stop Glatzel finding the bottom corner with a close-range header at the far post.
Stuttgart strike again!
They're running away with it! Sosa swings over a corner for Guirassy, who rises between two blue shirts to head in a third Stuttgart goal. That more than atones for his earlier penalty miss!
Tale of the tape
Daylight for Stuttgart!
The Bundesliga club make the most of their strong start to the second half. It starts with Führich, who threads a brilliant vertical pass in behind the HSV defence for the run of Millot. The Frenchman races into the box and could shoot, but opts to slide the ball across the area, where Hamburg-raised Vagnoman arrives to tuck away a confident first-time finish.
Millot spots a great run from Endo into the box. He attacks the ball on the edge on the penalty spot, but Schonlau puts his body on the line to make a crucial intervention.
Here we go again!
No changes from either side. Can Stuttgart extend their lead, or will Hamburg stage a fightback in keeping with the roller-coaster 2022/23 campaign?
Watch: German football remembers late teen
Half time! Stuttgart 1-0 Hamburg
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A whisker away!
Sosa with another inviting set-piece from the left. Mavropanos towers above everyone at the far post, but sends his header wide of the upright. Heuer Fernandes didn't move...
Time added on
Three added minutes at the end of a gripping first half in Stuttgart...
How costly will that penalty miss be?
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Hamburg are enjoying their best spell by far as a teasing cross from the right is hooked clear inside the VfB box. Stuttgart need to weather this mini storm...
Jatta chases down Müller, forcing a rushed clearance that's straight to Glatzel. He takes a touch to set himself, but the shot is charged down. Relief in the Stuttgart camp!
VfB the more purposeful
Führich skips inside of Heyer and unleashes a rising drive that Heuer Fernandes does really well to push over.
Wow! Heuer Fernandes dives to his left to beat away Guirassy's spot-kick. What an incredible start to the play-off it's been!
ReviewInside Penalty Area?
Reis makes contact with Millot on the right-hand side of the HSV area. It's close, but appears to be inside the box. Over to the VAR in Cologne...
What a chance!
Guirassy is played clean through on goal, but it's a tame effort in the end that Heuer Fernandes is able to get down to with ease. Hamburg are far to open and disorganised when they lose possession.
Stuttgart more effective
The decisive first goal
Heuer Fernandes sweeps up
Rinse and repeat as VfB try to hit HSV on the counter. Führich is on the prowl, but Heuer Fernandes, racing a good 35 yeards from his goal, is alert to the danger.
VfB targetting Heyer
Stuttgart catch out Heyer again with a ball over the top, but the whistle sounds for an offside against the roaming Führich. His cross was beyond the waiting white shirts, in any case.
Reis is the first player into the book for a late challenge on Millot.
Knocking at the door
More questions being asked of the Hamburg defence as Sosa whips over a trademark cross. Schonlau clears and is first to the next delivery, with Vagnoman lurking.
The Greek defender likes a shot from range, but this one is wide. Stuttgart really could not have asked for a more confident start to the play-off.
Heuer Fernandes to the rescue!
Heyer is caught out of position, leaving acres of space on the right-hand side of the Hamburg defence for Führich to attack. He drives into the area, forcing a flying save from Daniel Heuer Fernandes with a rising shot across goal. There's a penalty shout following the ensuing corner, but the referee is unmoved.
Better from Hamburg as Dompe combines with Jatta. He helps it on to Kittel, who gets to the by-line before overhitting his attempted cross. Walter applauds the idea.
Stuttgart running hard
Distance run (km)
Mavropanos delivers dream start for hosts!
The stadium has gone wild! Führich led an attack in the opening seconds and won a corner, which was sent into the middle of the box where Mavropanos powered an unstoppable header into the top right corner!
Off we go!
Two proud clubs and former Bundesliga champions lock horns - with just one spot in the 2023/24 Bundesliga up for grabs over two legs. And Stuttgart have scored in the opening seconds, incredible!
Now for a moment's silence
As mentioned earlier, the stadium pauses to mark the sad passing of a Berlin youth footballer in recent days.
The place is buzzing
What an atmosphere there is bubbling tonight on this splendid summer's evening in Stuttgart! The sell-out home crowd desperately want to give their side an extra push.
Reis has done it
© Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Walter banking on experience
An interesting note on the teams. Hamburg's starting line-up comes in at an average age of 27.3. Tim Walter has never selected an older team in his time as Hamburg coach. Stuttgart average a slightly younger 25.5. We shall see if the wisdom of experience or youthful verve wins the day!
Watch: Stuttgart vs. HSV: best goals in 2022/23
Coach's view: Walter
Coach's view: Hoeneß
Watch: How the promotion drama unfolded
Watch: Stuttgart relaxed
More on those teams
Enzo Millot replaces Silas in one of two changes to the Stuttgart team that drew with Hoffenheim at the weekend. Florian Müller is also recalled in goal, with Fabian Bredlow out injured. As for HSV, Ludovit Reis and Bakery Jatta go straight back into the side following suspension. Laszlo Benes (injured) and Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer make way.
Stuttgart starting line-up
Müller - Mavropanos, Anton, Ito - Vagnoman, Karazor, Endo (c), Sosa - Millot, Guirassy, Führich
Selmen, Stenzel, Zagadou, Coulibaly, Egloff, Nartey, Tomas, Silas, Pfeiffer
Hamburg starting line-up
Heuer Fernandes - Heyer, David, Schonlau (c), Muheim - Meffert, Kittel, Reis - Jatta, Glatzel, Dompe
Raab, Mikelbrencis, Montero, Kisilowski, Bilbija, Suhonen, Heil, Krahn, Königsdörffer
Watch: The calm before the storm
DFL to hold minute's silence in memory of deceased teenager
The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) will pay tribute to the 15-year-old killed at a youth tournament in Frankfurt am Main, before kick-off in the first leg of the Bundesliga promotion/ relegation play-off between VfB Stuttgart and Hamburg. There will be a minute's silence in the stadium, the DFL announced on Thursday. The young footballer from JFC Berlin was critically injured last Sunday in an assault by an opponent, and died on Wednesday. The alleged perpetrator, a 16-year-old from France, is said to have struck the victim on the head from behind. He is in custody and, according to his club FC Metz, denies having intentionally injured the boy.
Watch: The best of Stuttgart in 2022/23
Stuttgart 3-2 Hamburg – previous meeting
© Hansjürgen Britsch/Pressefoto Bauman/Hansjürgen Br
Watch: Sandhausen 0-1 Hamburg – highlights
Watch: Stuttgart 1-1 Hoffenheim – highlights
Giants of German football
The play-off has often seen a plucky underdog from the second division take on a big boy from the top flight, but this year sees two genuine giants of the German game face off. Stuttgart and Hamburg are both three-time Bundesliga champions and bring incredible levels of support with them. The question is whether Bundesliga football will be played at the 57,000-capacity Volksparkstadion or the 60,000 of the Mercedes-Benz Arena next season.
Away goals no longer apply
In the first iteration of the play-off between 1982 and 1991, a third deciding game was used to determine the winner in the case of a draw over two legs. From the reintroduction in 2008 and up to 2020, the away-goals rule was used if needed – as it was three times, with HSV benefitting in 2014 against Fürth, Union against Stuttgart in 2019 and Werder Bremen against Heidenheim the following year. That rule no longer applies, meaning if it’s level on aggregate we go to extra-time and, if still required, penalties to determine the winner.
Watch: The most dramatic play-offs ever
This is Hamburg’s fourth appearance in the play-off, which is the most of any club. Their first two were as a Bundesliga side fighting to stay up, first prevailing against Greuther Fürth in 2014 and then against Karlsruhe the next year. They were back again last season, this time as a second division team trying to come up but lost to Hertha.
Watch: Hamburg miss out against Hertha
Only two wins in over a decade
Since Fortuna Düsseldorf won 2-1 against Hertha Berlin in 2012 and ultimately gained promotion, the respective Bundesliga 2 club has only managed two more victories in play-off ties. Those were Holstein Kiel against Cologne in 2021 (1-0 but lost second leg 5-1) and Hamburg last year against Hertha (also 1-0 and also lost second leg 2-0).
One notable exception
History with the Bundesliga clubs
There have been 24 previous editions of the play-off to determine the final place in the following Bundesliga season, with this the 15th year in a row since it was permanently re-introduced in 2008/09. So far, the top-flight club has retained its status in 18 out of 24 seasons, with the second division team only coming up six times.