VfB Stuttgart will be looking to pull further clear of the relegation battle when they welcome Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CET/14:30GMT).
Stuttgart's form has been inconsistent of late. An emphatic win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 25 followed a heavy defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, while last weekend the Swabians rescued a point in dramatic fashion against FC Ingolstadt 04. With key players such as Daniel Ginczek and Kevin Großkreutz sidelined by injury, even a solid 11th place is no guarantee of Stuttgart's safety.
Leverkusen have been equally up and down in recent weeks, and Matchday 26's narrow victory over Hamburger SV was the club's first win in five Bundesliga games. Despite poor form and a long list of injuries, however, Die Werkself remain just one point behind the top six. Victory could see Roger Schmidt's side reclaim a UEFA Europa League spot, even if a place in the top four and the concomitant qualification for the UEFA Champions League remains the club's priority.
Leverkusen staged a memorable comeback to beat Stuttgart 4-3 in a thriller at the BayArena.
Matchday 27 - match stats
- Stuttgart have won four of their last five home games.
- Leverkusen are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Stuttgart.
- Die Werkself have won just one game away from home in 2016.
- Stefan Kießling has scored 14 goals in 20 games against the Swabians.
- Karim Bellarabi has found the net in all of his last three games against Stuttgart.
Stuttgart: Tyton – Klein, Schwaab, Niedermeier, Insua – Serey Die – Rupp, Gentner, Didavi, Kostic - Werner
Absentees: Großkreutz, Ferati (both thigh), Ginczek (knee), Barba, Harnik (both calf)
Leverkusen: Leno - Becker, Tah, Papadopoulos, Wendell – Frey, Ramalho – Bellarabi, Calhanoglu – Hernandez, Kießling
Absentees: Bender, Boenisch, Toprak (all thigh), Hilbert (collar bone), Kampl (broken leg), Jedvaj (suspended)