Borussia Dortmund - Stuttgart Preview: Champions seeking momentum for Bundesliga defence
BVB seem to have lost the imperious air that surrounded them last season and will be eager to set that straight in a replay of one of last season's most exciting matches
By Tom Webber
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Reus, Gotze, Grosskreutz
Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Molinaro
Gentner, Kvist, Holzhauser
Harnik, Ibisevic, Traore
Jurgen Klopp is expected to name the same starting XI which defeated Freiburg last weekend as Borussia Dortmund host Stuttgart on Saturday.
After a stuttering start to the season, which included defeat to rivals Schalke last month, BVB have since recorded three straight wins in all competitions. Now looking for consistency, there are unlikely to be any changes as Ilkay Gundogan continues in midfield ahead of the injured Sven Bender.
The two teams played out an epic 4-4 draw in last season's corresponding fixture and the reigning champions will start with nine of the same players: only Shinji Kagawa, who has since left for Manchester United, and Jakub Blaszczykowski (injured) will be absent. In their stead there are more than capable replacements in the form of Mario Gotze and Marco Reus.
With his team unbeaten in four league outings, Bruno Labbadia is also expected to retain the same XI from Stuttgart's 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. However, there are concerns over the fitness of right-back Gotoku Sakai and Serdar Tasci which could mean a reshuffle at the back.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- In the corresponding fixture from last season, Borussia Dortmund could only manage a 4-4 draw against a determined Stuttgart side.
- Jurgen Klopp's side have only tasted defeat twice in their previous 37 Bundesliga outings.
- BVB have drawn their last three matches against die Schwaben at the Signal Iduna Park
- Stuttgart hold the upper hand in the history books when facing the reigning champions with 38 wins to 28 in a total of 88 meetings.
- The Baden-Wurttemberg outfit have not picked up all three points in Dortmund since a 1-0 win in February 2007.
- Vedad Ibisevic (right) has netted more Bundesliga goals than any BVB player so far this season. His five strikes put him one goal ahead of the hosts' leading scorer, Reus.
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Top 3 Predictions
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
- 16.51 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 VfB Stuttgart
- 15.89 %
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 VfB Stuttgart
- 15.58 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 30, 2013||VfB Stuttgart 1 - Borussia Dortmund 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Nov 3, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 0 - VfB Stuttgart 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 30, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 4 - VfB Stuttgart 4|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Oct 29, 2011||VfB Stuttgart 1 - Borussia Dortmund 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Jan 22, 2011||Borussia Dortmund 1 - VfB Stuttgart 1|
|May 25, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - FC Bayern München 2||UCL|
|May 18, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - Hoffenheim 2||GER1|
|May 11, 2013||VfL Wolfsburg 3 - Borussia Dortmund 3||GER1|
|May 4, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - FC Bayern München 1||GER1|
|Apr 30, 2013||Real Madrid CF 2 - Borussia Dortmund 0||UCL|
|4||William Kvist Jörgensen||Midfielder|
|2||Francisco Javier Rodríguez||Defender|
The Pole has proved himself to be one of the best attacking full-backs on the continent with his performances over the last year and more of the same can be expected against Stuttgart. His role will be vital as the visitors' use of wingers may keep him more occupied than usual in defence. But if Dortmund can control possession then he can run forward at will, dragging the wingers back with him as he exploits space in the midfield. You would not want to bet against him adding to his four assists already achieved this season.
The striker has impressed at his new club since joining from Hoffenheim and has made a positive start to the season. Five goals so far this season show he is a man in form and with a keen eye for goal. His hold-up play will be tested when he comes up against Hummels and Subotic and he will also need a lot of energy to try and unlock a typically stalwart defence. Stuttgart cannot afford to have the Bosnian go missing and will thus need to ensure he is supplied with the ball all afternoon.
It could well be a close-run game between these two in-form teams, but home advantage should be enough to see Borussia Dortmund to safety. Jurgen Klopp is consistent with his team selection and they look high on confidence since the triumph over Real Madrid last month. More will be expected from Marco Reus and Mario Gotze, though, as the duo struggled to make an effective impact in the snow last week. But of course, Stuttgart cannot be discounted and have put together a decent string of results themselves.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed