bundesliga.com previews yet another must-win encounter for Baden-Württemberg's capital club...
Bremen have turned their fortunes around in the second half of the season and have realistic designs on a UEFA Europa League finish. Stuttgart can only look on in wonder at such lofty heights from the bottom of the ladder, where they're scrapping for Bundesliga survival. Both clubs want all three points, but one arguably needs them more.
Stuttgart coach Huub Stevens has virtually all hands on deck for Sunday's game, with no new injuries or suspensions to factor into his plans. The only member of the first team squad certain to be absent is long-term casualty , who is now back in training.
The visitors, on the other hand, have a few more personnel concerns. Defender is suspended after collecting a fifth booking of the season on Matchday 27, Luca Caldirola is out after going over on his ankle in training, while Santiago Garcia (knee) is unlikely to be risked.
Serbian winger was full of running in last weekend's 3-1 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg. The 22-year-old missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring at the Volkswagen Arena, although it was his sublime run and cross that led to the equaliser. Another performance like that could be just the lift Stuttgart need.
is the Green-Whites' top scorer in 2014/15 with 12 league strikes in 19 appearances. The Argentinian hasn't found the net in just over a month, but has never gone more than two games without a goal at any point in the season (he missed the Matchday 25 defeat to FC Bayern München through suspension).
Stevens: "We're focusing on our next opponent and are analysing them. We know all about the quality Bremen have. We can't be cocky, but can't be fearful either. The team has made progress."
Viktor Skripnik: "For the first time in years we're in a situation where we can work with a greater sense of calm. The game could be crucial. We want to give everything we've got to pick up three points."
The hosts have been inconsistent all term - a malaise that has left them bottom of the table going into the season run-in. They have earned just five points in their last five games, but are unbeaten at home in their last two. Bremen are much improved since Skripnik took over last year and are safely in mid-table, even if they too have just five points from the last 15 on offer.
These teams are level in the head-to-head count: there have been 31 draws, while each has won 33 of the 97 matches contested thus far. Bremen have had the upper hand recently and are unbeaten in the last five meetings, winning 2-0 when they met on Matchday 11 earlier this season.
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Klein, Rüdiger, Niedermeier, Hlousek - Gentner, Serey Die - Harnik, Kostic, Werner - Ginczek
Bremen: Wolf - Gebre Selassie, Galvez, Vestergaard, Sternber - Fritz, Bargfrede, Junuzovic - Öztunali - Selke, Di Santo