Borussia Dortmund - Stuttgart Preview: Leaders hope to extend lead to eight points in the Bundesliga
The hosts will aim to increase their advantage in the first match of round 27, but come up against a side in red-hot form with the Swabians on target for a top-five finish
By Clark Whitney
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Kuba, Kagawa, Grosskreutz
Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Boka
Harnik, Hajnal, Schieber
Dortmund starlet Mario Gotze returned to training this week, but the 19-year-old is still far from being fit to start. Jakub 'Kuba' Blaszczykowski will retain his starting berth on the right flank.
In defensive midfield, Jurgen Klopp is tipped to give Ilkay Gundogan the nod, as the Turk has become a key player in the last two matches. The trainer will have a nearly full squad available, with only long-term casualty Julian Koch absent.
Vedad Ibisevic is set to return from suspension and could replace Cacau in the Stuttgart starting XI. Serdar Tasci is also expected to make his comeback following an injury lay-off, and will likely displace Maza.
Friday's match comes far too early for Khalid Boulahrouz and Shinji Okazaki, however, as the two are still recovering from knocks.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Dortmund have not lost in the Bundesliga for 21 games. Their last defeat was on September 18, 2011.
- The title holders have attracted a club record 80,460 average attendance at home games this season. The figure is 99.7 per cent of the full capacity of the Westfalenstadion.
- In 10 appearances since the winter break, Shinji Kagawa has scored eight goals and made four assists.
- Stuttgart have won four of their last five games, conceding just twice in the process.
- After a strong start to the season, VfB sunk to 11th place before finding their form again. They now are seventh, one point away from fifth spot.
- Vedad Ibisevic has found the net four times for the Swabians since his mid-season signing from Hoffenheim. Only Martin Harnik, Shinji Okazaki and Cacau have scored more for VfB.
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Top 3 Predictions
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VfB Stuttgart
- 18.9 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 VfB Stuttgart
- 14.17 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
- 11.81 %
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||1 Nov 2013||Borussia Dortmund 6 - VfB Stuttgart 1|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||30 Mar 2013||VfB Stuttgart 1 - Borussia Dortmund 2|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||3 Nov 2012||Borussia Dortmund 0 - VfB Stuttgart 0|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||30 Mar 2012||Borussia Dortmund 4 - VfB Stuttgart 4|
|1. Bundesliga (BUN)||29 Oct 2011||VfB Stuttgart 1 - Borussia Dortmund 1|
|14 Dec 2013||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2 - Borussia Dortmund 2||BUN|
|11 Dec 2013||Olympique de Marseille 1 - Borussia Dortmund 2||UCL|
|7 Dec 2013||Borussia Dortmund 0 - Bayer Leverkusen 1||BUN|
|3 Dec 2013||1. FC Saarbruecken 0 - Borussia Dortmund 2||GERC|
|30 Nov 2013||1. FSV Mainz 05 1 - Borussia Dortmund 3||BUN|
|4||William Kvist Jörgensen||Midfielder|
|-||Mamadou Djouldé Bah||Midfielder|