Würzburger Kickers are well on their way to promotion into the 2. Bundesliga after a convincing 2-0 win over MSV Duisburg.
Richard Weil opened the scoring from the spot after just 10 minutes, with Daniel Nagy adding a second just before the end.
The Zebras now have a mountain to climb ahead of the return leg on Tuesday.
Coming into the game, Würzburg made just one change to the side that beat 1. FC Magdeburg on the final day of the season; Dominik Nothnagel had to be replaced and Clemens Schoppenhauer took his place. Duisburg, on the other hand, named the same eleven which secured a 1-0 win over RB Leipzig last Sunday.
Super start for the hosts
Free-kicks were the order of the day in the opening 10 minutes. Both teams had their chances from dead ball situations, with Kevin Wolze's causing particular panic in the home defence. However, that was nothing in comparison to what happened at the other end.
A long free-kick was sent into the area and headed back and forth inside the box before Peter Kurzweg was caught by an exceptionally high Kingsley Onuegbu boot. Sascha Stegemann was left with little option than to point to the spot. Weil stepped up and slammed the ball past the outstretched Marcel Lenz to send the home fans wild.
Oddly, that goal seemed to settle the game rather than cause more mayhem in the respective boxes. Nejmeddin Daghfous had a hopeful long-range attempt easily gathered by Lenz, while Elia Soriano almost reached Rico Benatelli's knock down. It was a superb start for Würzburg, and they had their deserved lead to boot.
Duisburg work their way back into the game
After the half hour mark, however, chances were hard to come by. Giorgi Chanturia was doing his utmost to get the visitors into gear but, ultimately, found a staunch rear-guard action in his way. It was no surprise when Wolze unleashed a 25-yard volley of pure anger at goal; he was even more frustrated to see it rattle the upright.
The final action of the half saw Duisburg create their best chance of the game and one which Stanislav Iljutchenko would have been hugely disappointed to miss. He latched onto a lose ball and charged at goal, only to slip his shot just past the far post. Würzburg could breathe a sigh of relief immediately as the half time whistle went.
Stale second half
The first 15 minutes resembled nothing like the first half, with both teams appearing much more tight, tense and wary of coming forward. Both sets of players also seemed increasingly keen to contest the 50-50 challenges with a bit of bite, something that referee Stegemann was quick to clamp down on.
But Würzburg were the side pressing to get the game's second goal and should have had just that through substitute Marco Haller. He had only just replaced Joannis Karsanidis but managed to prod a shot at goal following an almighty goalmouth scramble, only to see his effort go agonisingly wide of the goal.
Nagy livens the game up with a second
The game was looking like it would end 1-0, due to the rather tame and mundane manner it had fallen in to. However, a moment of magic changed all that. Some superb work from Daghfous down the right saw him wiggle and weave his way around the helpless Branimir Bajic. Nagy arrived at the front post to meet his cross, turning past Lenz.
Würzburg were in dreamland and comfortably held on to secure the two-goal cushion heading into the second leg. Duisburg's hopes of being the first ever 2. Bundesliga side to survive after being bottom on matchday 31 now look bleak.