Stuttgart could find themselves fourth points adrift of SV Werder Bremen at the close of play on Matchday 13. Encouragingly, though, one of die Schwaben's three wins under Stevens last term came against a Freiburg outfit currently three points better off than their near neighbours in 14th.
Christian Streich is unlikely to make too many changes, if any at all, to the side that took a point off 1. FSV Mainz 05 last time out. Sebastian Freis (r.) is available following injury, while Dani Schahin is another option in attack. Veteran right-back Sascha Riether (calf) misses out.
Stevens is expected to go with Sven Ulreich over Thorsten Kirschbaum between the goalposts. Timo Baumgartl and Antonio Rüdiger (l.) will likely continue at the heart of the defence, but right-back Daniel Schwaab and Chelsea FC loanee midfielder Oriol Romeu are both suspended.
French midfielder Jonathan Schmid has found top form in recent weeks, netting in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Mainz as well as the Matchday 11 win over FC Schalke 04. A tricky customer at the best of times, the 24-year-old will be out to put his experience to good use against Stuttgart's raw-looking back four.
Ecuadorian international Carlos Gruezo could be the man to benefit from Romeu's enforced absence in the centre of the park. The gifted midfielder made his Bundesliga debut under Stevens last March, but has been restricted to just five league starts so far in 2014/15.
Admir Mehmedi, Freiburg striker: "A derby's a derby, it's always special. It's going to be a cracking contest."
Huub Stevens, Stuttgart head coach: "It's a different team now with different players […] Football's full of surprises."
Unbeaten in three with two wins and a draw, Freiburg are enjoying a much-needed form spike after a worrying start to the campaign. A trio of defeats, meanwhile, has ensured Stuttgart's place at the foot of the standings for the last two weekends.
Stuttgart have won the last three fixtures between the two south-west clubs, with Freiburg's most recent success coming on Matchday 13 of the 2012/13 campaign. Curiously, not one of their 13 top-flight encounters to date has ended in a draw.
Freiburg: Bürki - Sorg, Torrejon, Mitrovic, C. Günter - Darida, Höfler - Klaus, Schmid - Freis, Mehmedi
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Klein, Baumgartl, Rüdiger, G. Sakai - Gruezo, Gentner - Harnik, Leitner, Kostic - Ginczek