High flying Foals take on struggling Stuttgart this weekend as the Bundesliga returns following the winter break.. As for Stuttgart they’re becoming ever-more frequent in the relegation battles and are level on points with Werder Bremen and if they fail to pick up any points they could fall into the relegation zone if Borussia Dortmund beat Leverkusen at 17:30 Saturday evening. Gladbach need to keep an eye on who’s behind them as well as third placed Leverkusen with Schalke level on points with Favre side as well as being just a point off a Champions League spot.
Stuttgart’s side have been severely weakened with injuries to Antonio Rüdiger, Daniel Didavi and Carlos Gruezo are still training separately, while Daniel Ginczek has been given a run-out for the Under-23 side. Stevens did confirm that long-term absence Vedad Ibisevic is 'ready' for the game.
Lucien Favre will be without former Stuttgart player Ibrahima Traore who is preparing for an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final, while Andre Hahn's achilles injury dealt another blow to his squad selection. Injury possibilities keep totting up as doubts surround Thorgan Hazard and Alvaro Dominguez after the pair missed Wednesday's training session through illness.
Huub Stevens (Stuttgart head coach): "The yardstick is the first game and I already know my team."
Lucien Favre (Gladbach head coach) : "It's important to have a good start, but it only matters where we are at the end of the season."
On Matchday 1 of this season, it took a last-minute strike from Christoph Kramer to rescue Favre's men a 1-1 draw. Cause for concern for Gladbach as they’ve only won three of their thirty-three meetings with Stuttgart since 1995/96. However, Stuttgart will definitely need to take a look at their record at home. Stevens’ side have picked up just eights points at their stomping ground all season.
Predicted Line ups:
VfB Stuttgart: Ulreich - Schwaab, Baumgartl, Niedermeier, Hlousek - Romeu, Gentner - Klein, Maxim, Harnik - Ibisevic
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sommer - Korb, Stranzl, Jantschke, Dominguez - Kramer, G. Xhaka - Herrmann, Hazard - Raffael - M. Kruse