Bundesliga News

VfB Stuttgart vs. Hamburger SV preview: Play-off first leg

By Ben Sully   @SullyBen

VfB Stuttgart will welcome Hamburger SV to the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Thursday for the first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off.
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VfB Stuttgart

Stuttgart’s three-season stay in the top flight is under threat after they dropped into the playoff spot on the final day of the season. Die Schwaben ended the campaign with a home meeting against Sebastian Hoeneß's former side, Hoffenheim. The contest also pitted Stuttgart against their former manager Pellegrino Matarazzo, who was sacked in October after spending nearly three years with the club.

Matarazzo’s side took the lead through Ihlas Bebou in the 75th minute, before Tiago Tomas restored parity five minutes later. Three points would have moved Stuttgart out of the bottom three, but a winner ultimately proved to be elusive.

Stuttgart will now turn their attention to Thursday's encounter, where they will be looking to make home advantage count. The hosts are unbeaten in their last four matches at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, but three of those encounters finished all square.

After keeping just one clean sheet in 17 Bundesliga home games, Stuttgart will be hoping to produce a solid defensive display against Hamburg.
Team News

Thomas Kastanaras is ruled out through injury, while Dan-Axel Zagadou is a doubt due to a foot problem.

Hamburger SV

Hamburg thought that their five-year stay in the second tier had finally come to an end when they secured a 1-0 away win over Sandhausen. When the full-time whistle was blown, Heidenheim were trailing 2-1 to Jahn Regensburg, while requiring a victory to secure promotion.

However, as Hamburg fans flooded the pitch in Sanhausen, Heidenheim scored two dramatic goals in stoppage time to win the 2.Bundesliga and send Hamburg into the playoff.

They will be hoping to experience better fortunes this time around after losing to Hertha BSC in the playoff last season. Hamburg led 1-0 after the away leg, but a 2-0 defeat at the Volksparkstadion condemned HSV to another season in the second tier.

Tim Walter’s side finished the campaign with the best away record in the 2.Bundesliga, picking up 30 points from their 17 away trips, which will provide them with a source of inspiration for Thursday's contest.
Team News

The visitors are unable to call upon Omar Megeed, András Németh, László Bénes and Noah Katterbach due to injury issues.

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