bundesliga.com looks ahead to a clash between two of the German top-flight’s founding members…
Dortmund’s domestic problems look to be behind them after the five-time Bundesliga winners recorded successive league wins for the first time since September last weekend. BVB currently sit four points clear of Stuttgart, who’ve picked up just two points in their last five matches.
Ecuadorian international midfielder (r.) is an option again following injury, but BVB loanee Moritz Leitner may miss out (calf). Geoffroy Serey Die looks set to make his first-XI debut after joining from FC Basel 1893 in the winter, and could be joined in the side by Daniel Ginczek. Captain Christian Gentner is suspended.
With (l.), Erik Durm and Jakub Blaszczykowski once again ruled out (all ill), Jürgen Klopp will most likely plump for the same starting line-up that dispatched 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Matchday 21. Midfield duo Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender should make the matchday squad following injury, however.
Die Schwaben need a lift from somewhere and new recruit (r.) might just be the man to deliver. The no-nonsense holding midfielder won the Africa Cup of Nations with Cote d'Ivoire earlier this month and has the steely determination needed to settle a back four that’s shipped 37 goals so far this term.
Looking to take advantage of that shaky defence is Marco Reus (l.), who scored one and laid on an assist last weekend in another electric display. His link-up play with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is verging on the telepathic and he’s also doing a fine job at integrating new boy Kevin Kampl into the side. When Reus is on form, so are BVB.
Huub Stevens (Stuttgart head coach): "39 points are still up for grabs […] We have to start collecting points fast."
Klopp (r., BVB head coach): "I won’t be thinking of the Juventus game [in the UEFA Champions League last 16 next week] when I pick my team."
Stuttgart can’t buy a win at present, with their last league success coming against Hamburger SV on Matchday 16. Dortmund, by contrast, are on the mend thanks to 3-0 and 4-2 wins over SC Freiburg and Mainz respectively and will be confident of adding to their haul against a Stuttgart side that have won just once all season on home soil.
Goals have been a recurring theme in the fixture down the years. Borussia had won their last three by an aggregate score of 11-4 until this season’s reverse fixture, which ended 2-2. Stuttgart haven’t got the better of Klopp’s side in over five years.
Stuttgart: Ulreich - G. Sakai, Baumgartl, Niedermeier, Hlousek - Oriol Romeu, Serey Die - Harnik, Leitner, Werner - Ibisevic
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Sokratis, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Sahin - Kampl, Kagawa, Reus - Aubameyang