Kostas Mavropanos, Josha Vagnoman and Serhou Guirassy got on the scoresheet as VfB Stuttgart put themselves in a good position to retain their Bundesliga status with a crushing 3-0 play-off win over Hamburger SV tonight.
In a match dominated by Stuttgart from start to finish, Kostas Mavropanos gave the hosts a dream start when he headed in Borna Sosa's corner after less than a minute.
Serhou Guirassy then wasted two golden opportunities to put Stuttgart ahead, first failing to beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one and then seeing a penalty saved.
Leading 1-0 at the break, Stuttgart scored twice early in the second half to build a comfortable lead.
First, Josha Vagnoman finished off a great Stuttgart move at the back post in the 51st minute, and three minutes later Guirassy finally got his goal, nodding in from another well-struck Sosa corner.
Five minutes later, Robert Glatzel missed a glorious chance to pull one back at the other end, hitting the post from a promising position.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Anssi Suhonen was shown a straight red card for kicking Vagnoman just nine minutes after coming on.
Stuttgart held on to their 3-0 lead and even came close to adding to their tally in stoppage time, but Mavropanos sent his shot just wide of the post.
With the win tonight, Stuttgart look well placed to retain their Bundesliga status, while HSV have a mountain to climb when the two teams meet again in the return leg on Monday.