VfB Stuttgart defeated Hamburger SV courtesy of a last-minute winner from Gonzalo Castro in yesterday’s 2. Bundesliga match. The 2007 German champions scored three goals in the second half after Hamburg took a two-goal lead into halftime. Stuttgart are now in second place with 48 points, leading third-placed Hamburg by two points. The top two positions in Germany’s second-tier automatically gain promotion, while the third-place side faces the 16th place Bundesliga finisher in the relegation/promotion playoff.
VfB Stuttgart Beat Hamburg in Bundesliga Promotion Showdown
Hamburg, Stuttgart and Others in a Close Battle For Promotion
Table-toppers DSC Arminia Bielefeld (53 points) have a game in hand and hold a five-point lead at the top, but only six points separate Stuttgart from fifth place SV Darmstadt 98 (42 points). 1. FC Heidenheim are in fourth with 45 points. The second automatic promotion spot and playoff spot could come down to the final day.
Until 2018, Hamburger SV were the only German club to never be relegated from the Bundesliga. The northern German side finished just behind third-place 1. FC Union Berlin last season. The last-minute loss to Stuttgart puts Hamburg in a tricky position. Second place is just two points away, but fifth is only four. The side’s remaining six fixtures are against 17th place SV Wehen Wiesbaden, sixth place Holstein Kiel, dead last SG Dynamo Dresden, 13th place VFL Osnabrück, 4th place 1. FC Heidenheim 1846, and 14th place SV Sandhausen. Except for the matches against Heidenheim and Holstein, the remaining four opponents are in the lower half of the table. The Heidenheim fixture could prove pivotal.
Hamburg lost out on the relegation playoff spot to Union Berlin in 2019, and it was the Die Eisernen that beat VfB Stuttgart in last season’s playoff. The former powerhouse have a much easier schedule than Hamburg, making them the favourites to claim automatic promotion. Besides facing Darmstadt on the final matchday, Stuttgart face five lower table sides: Dynamo Dresden, Osnabrück, Sandhausen, 16th place Karlsruher SC and 15th place 1. FC Nürnberg.