Bundesliga club Stuttgart saves lives and plunges HSV into mourning again
VfB Stuttgart can prepare for another year in the German Bundesliga. The number sixteen of last season survived the promotion/degradation confrontation with Hamburger SV by also winning the second game. After last Thursday’s 3-0 at home, it became 3-1 in the return.
And that is a hard blow for HSV, which in 2018 was relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in the club’s history and in recent years saw the chance to return to the top level slip through their fingers each time in the closing stages of the season. This year, however, the northern Germans thought they had it together after the 1-0 win over Sandhausen in the final round of play in the 2. Bundesliga.
While players and supporters celebrated promotion extensively on the pitch, however, rival FC Heidenheim was still busy against Regensburg. Indeed, in the third and ninth minutes of extra time, a deficit was turned into a 3-2 victory and still relegated HSV to third place in the final standings, insufficient for direct return to the Bundesliga.
And so the retake via two games against VfB Stuttgart also came to nothing. It already started badly with the 3-0 away defeat due to goals by Konstantinos Mavropanos (already in the first minute), Josha Vagnoman (a native of Hamburger acquired from HSV last summer) and Serhou Guirassy.
HSV, with Haarlem-born Ludovit Reis in the starting lineup, started the return match in the Volksparkstadion, which was filled with 57,000 fans, with a good start. Jean-Luc Dompé had already forced Stuttgart goalkeeper Florian Muller into a save, when in the sixth minute Sonny Kittel unleashed a cannonball that hit the inside of the post: 1-0.
Lid on the nose
Chris Fuhrich missed a self-created chance for the equalizer a minute later, while an artful goal by Guirassy was disallowed for offside. The home team managed to do little more in return until halftime.
Immediately after the break, HSV still got the lid on the nose. After poor defending on Hamburg’s side, Enzo Millot had the ball in front of him on a Guirassy pass. The knockout followed in the 64th minute when experienced Portuguese goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes mowed past a back pass and Millot had a free pass: 1-2.
‘Die Rothosen’ still went in search of the equalizer – and possibly more – but lacked sharpness in finishing. Stuttgart did find one more goal deep into extra time. Silas set the final score at 1-3.