Soccer: Stuttgart beat Hamburg 3-0 to grab advantage in relegation playoff

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - VfB Stuttgart boosted their chances of staying in the Bundesliga as they secured a 3-0 home victory against Hamburg SV in the first leg of the relegation playoff on Thursday.

The hosts got off to a flying start as Konstantinos Mavropanos headed the opener after 44 seconds.

Stuttgart could have doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark but Serhou Guirassy missed a penalty.

However, they scored again through Josha Vagnoman six minutes after the break and three minutes later Guirassy made amends for his earlier miss when he headed the third goal.

The night got worse for Hamburg, who host the second leg on Monday, when midfielder Anssi Suhonen got a red card for a dangerous tackle on Vagnoman in the 69th minute.

Stuttgart finished 16th in the Bundesliga table while Hamburg were third in the second tier standings.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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