VfB Stuttgart striker Timo Werner has hailed Kevin Großkreutz’s 'exceptional' work ethic as Die Schwaben prepare to host Hamburger SV on Saturday.

The former Borussia Dortmund utility man played the entire 90 minutes against the Billy Goats on Matchday 18, despite not having played a competitive game of football in almost a year. Großkreutz showed no sign of a lack of match practice at the RheinEnergieStadion, though, flying into tackles with trademark determination and impressing 19-year-old frontman Werner with his high energy levels.

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From zero to 100

“Considering he hasn’t played for so long, he did incredibly well,” said the youngster of the six-time Germany international, who failed to make a single appearance for Galatasaray AS after his summer move to Turkey was ruled to have been completed after the transfer deadline had passed. “He just kept running for the whole 90 minutes - like a horse! There aren’t many players in the Bundesliga who can go from zero to 100 like that. His work rate is exceptional.”

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Werner, who scored his fourth goal of the season in Cologne last weekend, will be hoping Großkreutz can pick up where he left off when the Swabians welcome HSV to the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Victory would lift VfB to within a single point of the , but Werner has warned his team-mates to be on their guard against Bruno Labbadia’s team on Saturday.

“Hamburg are in a similar position to Köln in the league, but we have to approach that game in the same manner,” said the German Under-21 international. “If we do that, I’m confident we’ll come away with all three points. We’ve come back from a goal down to win 3-1 twice in a row now - at home to Wolfsburg [on Matchday 17] and away at Köln. If we can win every game 3-1, you won’t hear anyone in Stuttgart complaining!”

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Infographic: VfB Stuttgart - the lowdown

Matthew Howarth reporting from Cologne