Stuttgart - After failing to record a win in their first two games of 2015, FC Bayern München are hoping it will be a case of third time lucky away to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday (kick-off: 15:30 CET / 14:30 GMT).

bundesliga.com has all the pre-match essentials ahead of a clash between southern Germany's traditional heavyweights...

After stumbling into the Rückrunde with a defeat and a draw, Bayern will be eager for a win on Saturday - not only to maintain their lead at the top of the table but also to restore their aura of invincibility. Stuttgart are in a relegation scrap so will fight until the end, though they would likely be satisfied with a point from this tie.

The hosts are without a number of key first-team members this week, including defender Antonio Rüdiger (fitness), holding midfielder Carlos Gruezo (r., thigh strain), as well as long-term absentee Daniel Didavi (both knee). Moritz Leitner is available despite picking up a knock in midweek, while Mohammed Abdellaoue has an outside chance of featuring.

Bayern must also make do without several regulars. Jerome Boateng is suspended after his red card against Schalke, Rafinha (ankle) and Franck Ribery (thigh) are a week away from returning to training, while Philipp Lahm, Thiago (both fitness) and Javi Martinez (cruciate ligament) are still some way off making their comebacks.

As both Wolfsburg and Stuttgart have shown already in the Rückrunde, Bayern's defence currently isn't as impenetrable as it was prior to the winter break. Therefore, VfB top scorer , on five goals so far this term, will have to take whatever chances come his way if the hosts are to frustrate the Bundesliga leaders.

As most teams do against Bayern, Stuttgart are likely to line-up defensively and look to hit their guests on the break. That means will be crucial to the visitors' efforts to break through a compact defensive wall. With 11 goals and three assists already in 2014/15, there is no better man to lead the charge than the Dutchman.

Huub Stevens, Stuttgart coach: "Anything can happen but we know we're facing one of the best teams in Europe."

: "Teams always make life difficult for us when we're away from home but I really hope we'll be able to pick up our first win in 2015. We need it."

Both sides began 2015 with defeats on Matchday 18 and followed that up with draws during the week. Stuttgart are currently down in 16th place but did show signs of improvement against both Gladbach and Köln. Meanwhile, Bayern may not be firing on all cylinders yet, but you sense it will not be long before they are.

The tide of history is overwhelming in Bayern's favour in this tie: they have won 58 of the 95 Bundesliga games contested so far, while Stuttgart have triumphed just 17 times. Furthermore, Bayern are unbeaten in their last six league trips to the Mercedez-Benz Arena and have taken maximum points from their four most recent visits.

Possible line-ups:

Stuttgart: Ulreich - Schwaab, Baumgartl, Niedermeier, Hlousek - Romeu - Klein, Leitner, Gentner, Sararer - Harnik

Bayern: Neuer - Rode, Benatia, Dante, Bernat - Schweinsteiger, Alaba - Robben, Müller, Götze - Lewandowski

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Check out a slice of Bundesliga history involving USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann and his former clubs Stuttgart and Bayern on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: