Preview: Borussia Dortmund v Stuttgart

Borussia Dortmund will be eager to bounce back from their recent heavy defeat when they host an in-form VfB Stuttgart outfit in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Bundesliga
Date: 8 April 2018
Match Day 29
Kick-off: 21H30 HKT
Venue: Signal-Iduna-Park

Referee: P. Ittrich
Assistants: N. Grudzinski, S. Thielert
Fourth official: M. Jollenbeck

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Dortmund 98 35 24 39
Stuttgart 98 39 24 35

Previous encounter:

Stuttgart 2-1 Dortmund 17/11/17 (Bundesliga)

Stuttgart goalscorers: C. Akolo (5′), J. Brekalo (51′)

Dortmund goalscorers: M. Philipp (45’+3)

Players to watch:

Dortmund has lived off Michy Batshuayi’s goals since he joined the club on loan from Chelsea in January. The Belgian striker has scored eight times in 12 games across all competitions and netted Dortmund’s last three.

Veteran striker Mario Gomez has hit the ground running at Stuttgart since making his move from Wolfsburg at the start of the year. The 32-year-old has bagged six goals in 11 Bundesliga appearances, including a brace in the recent 2-1 win over Freiburg.

Team form and manager quotes:

The BVB were humiliated by Bayern Munich in their last league encounter. Die Roten thrashed Dortmund 6-0 at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, their worst defeat all season, and manager Peter Stoger will need to get his players back in the correct mindset to take on Stuttgart.

Dortmund is still third in the Bundesliga standings but have fallen further behind second-placed FC Schalke, who now enjoy a four-point lead over the 2011/12 league champions with six games left.

“We cannot play a game without pressure, obviously. Also not against Stuttgart,” Stoger told his pre-match press conference.

“Admittedly, the loss against Bayern was not an everyday result. But it doesn’t make such a big difference as we did not plan with the three points in Munich.

“So far, the reaction after tough losses, often on the European stage, has been very good.

“We lost 6-0, yes, but we also had games where we showed that we can play football. So that’s our approach – other teams suffered big losses in Munich.

“Obviously, you can’t push a button and everyone starts running in the right direction. Everyone knows that Sunday is an important game. I feel like the group is coming closer together.”

Meanwhile, Stuttgart should be relatively confident after going eight Bundesliga games without defeat. Tayfun Korkut’s side won five and drew three of their league fixtures, most recently drawing 1-1 with Hamburg at home.

The improved run of form has seen VfB climb to eighth position in the standings, after drifting close to the relegation zone around the start of the year. Stuttgart was promoted to the top-flight last season and have built a 12-point lead over the bottom three teams.

Korkut told his press conference: “We want to score points there, our away record in the last games is very good, we want to be competitive there, but we know the quality of the opponents, know the stadium and the starting position, which will not be an easy task.

“We are not the benchmark, as Dortmund have not lost twelve games in the league before. Dortmund is a top team.”

Team news:

Dortmund is expected to be without midfielder Sebastian Rode, centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou, and left-back Raphael Guerreiro.

Stuttgart could be missing centre-back Timo Baumgartl and right-back Matthias Zimmerman.

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