As the title is now within Bayern’s grasp, the reigning champions will hope to take three points from mid-table Stuttgart as they try to finish runners-up.
Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Boka
Harnik, Holzhauser, Okazaki, Traore
Piszczek, Subotic, Santana, Schmelzer
Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus
Borussia Dortmund went into the international break on the back of a 5-1 trouncing of Freiburg and will look to pick up where it left off when it visits Stuttgart in one of Saturday’s early kickoffs.
Sven Bender, who missed Germany’s match against Kazakhstan after coming down with the flu, has recovered and will start alongside Ilkay Gundogan in the center of midfield. Defender Mats Hummels remains sidelined with an ankle injury, however, and will once again be replaced by Felipe Santana.
Winger Jakub Blaszczykowski has had some recent discomfort with an adductor muscle, and while he still may start at Mercedes-Benz Arena, Kevin Grosskreutz is ready should a stand-by be required. If so, Mario Gotze would move over to the right with Marco Reus sliding into the middle.
Stuttgart come into Saturday’s match without fullback Cristian Molinaro and defensive midfielder William Kvist, both of whom are suspended, and striker Cacau is still recovering from knee surgery.
Coach Bruno Labbadia may also have to make do without midfielders Johan Audel and Tunay Torun, both of whom have minor knocks.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Borussia Dortmund has won only three of its previous six Bundesliga matches and currently sits 20 points back of leader Bayern Munich with eight rounds left to play.
- Dortmund’s 5-1 win at home to Freiburg on March 16 represented the third time this season it had hit a quintuple, having previously accomplished the feat against Borussia Monchengladbach and Werder Bremen.
- Dortmund has five players (Marco Reus, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Lukasz Piszczek, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski (pictured,right)) with at least five Bundesliga assists so far this season.
- Stuttgart has won just two of its last 10 matches — a streak dating all the way back to mid-December. It is presently 12th in the standings.
- Stuttgart has kept just three clean sheets since the first week of November.
- The last four matches between these two sides all ended in draws, including a 4-4 thriller at Dortmund a year ago.