bundesliga.com has all the essential pre-match build-up, team news and much more besides ahead of the duel at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Currently down in 16th place, Stuttgart need a win to help them pull clear of the relegation zone. However, the omens do not give much cause for optimism as VfB have lost four of their six home ties so far, winning just once. The good news is that Schalke, who are eager to return to the top four, have been dire on their travels, losing five and winning one.
Strikers Mohammed Abdellaoue and Vedad Ibisevic are both still absent as they work their way back to full fitness, while injured defender Georg Niedermeier (thigh) will likewise play no part. Attacking midfielder Daniel Didavi could feature after recovering from a muscle tear, and Daniel Schwaab and (r.) return to the squad following suspensions last week.
Defensive midfielder Marco Höger is suspended, while Kevin-Prince Boateng (ankle), Julian Draxler (hamstring), Jefferson Farfan (ankle), Sidney Sam, Leon Goretzka (both with muscle tears), Joel Matip (broken foot), Sead Kolasinac (cruciate ligament), Chinedu Obasi (knee) and Fabian Giefer (fitness) remain sidelined. and (r.) are available again after recovering from knocks.
took his personal goal tally to five last week during Stuttgart's 4-1 thrashing of SC Freiburg and the hosts will need their top scorer to find the target here too, as the side have hit the net just four times on home turf all season.
The Royal Blues may not have been firing on all cylinders yet in 2014/15, but Dutch hitman certainly has been of late: the 30-year-old has seven goals and three assists to his name already this term and has formed an increasingly menacing forward partnership with .
Huub Stevens, Stuttgart coach: "Everyone needs to be aware that we'll only be successful by sticking together and acting positively in every situation."
Roberto Di Matteo (l.), Schalke coach: "We want to build on the Mainz game and finally get an away win. The three points are all that matters."
The hosts began their second era under Stevens with an impressive 4-1 win away to local rivals SC Freiburg last week, ending a run of three straight defeats. Schalke overcame 1. FSV Mainz 05 4-1 last time out, meaning they now have taken nine of the last 12 points available to them in the league.
Stuttgart have the superior head-to-head record between these two, having won almost half (42) of the 88 Bundesliga matches contested. Schalke have chalked up 32 victories, while there have been 14 draws. Last season the respective home side won each time, with the Royal Blues winning 3-0 on Matchday 14, before VfB earned a 3-1 triumph in the reverse fixture.
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Klein, Baumgartl, Rüdiger, Hlousek - Gruezo, Leitner - Sararer, Gentner, Werner - Harnik
Schalke: Fährmann - Neustädter, Kirchhoff, Höwedes - Uchida, Barnetta, Aogo, Fuchs - Meyer - Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar
Check out Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's hat-trick against Mainz on Matchday 13 courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: