The hosts are finally up and running in the Bundesliga after recording their
first win of the season away at 1. FC Nürnberg on Matchday 11, while VfB are in need of a pick-me-up after shipping six at Borussia Dortmund last time out.
Reunion of sorts
This meeting will be the sides' fourth in this calendar year and second in the 2013/14 campaign, following Freiburg'a in late September. They also faced off at the back end of the last season, with VfB winning both encounters.
Freiburg will be need no extra motivation coming into this game, however. Thiscorresponding fixture last term ended in a 3-0 success for Christian Streich's men, but it is their most recent meeting that the coach wants a repeat of. “In terms of the result, at least, we want to try and recreate the Cup game. We can be under no illusions, though. Stuttgart are a very strong team and it will be a hugely difficult game.”
VfB’s double incentive
His opposite number Thomas Schneider also drew on their encounter in the Cup in his pre-match press conference, revealing that he and his team are on something of a revenge mission. “We all still have that game at the back of our minds,” said the 40-year-old. “It’s a chance for us to set the record straight. We need a result here.”
Stuttgart’s Matchday 11 defeat in Dortmund was their first in seven matches under new coach Schneider, and while the trend at the club has undoubtedly been positive since his arrival, this game will go some way to revealing what his youthful team are made of and how quickly they can pick themselves up after a setback. “We want to show a reaction to Dortmund and I expect the players put their absolute maximum into the game,” said the coach.
Fatigue a factor?
Given that his charges last played nine days ago, the visitors should be able to do just that. Freiburg, meanwhile, have been action twice since then, both away from home - including a draining UEFA Europa League tie in Portugal on Thursday.
Indeed, Schneider believes it could play into Stuttgart's hands: “It’s definitely an issue that they played in midweek. They won’t quite be at 100 per cent.”
Freiburg: Baumann - Ginter, Hedenstad, Höhn, Günter - Fernandes, Schuster, Klaus, Pilar - Darida, Mehmedi
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Sakai, Schwaab, Haggui, Boka - Kvist, Gentner - Traore, Maxim, Harnik - Ibisevic