Two of the Bundesliga's most exciting outfits face off in Saturdays Topspiel as Borussia Monchengladbach travel to Stuttgart.
Stuttgart come into this game off the back of their fifth away win of the season, a 4-1 triumph over Augsburg. Players like Borna Sosa, Nicolas Gonzalez and Silas Wamangituka continue to catch the eye of neutrals although their home form does need improvement.
Pellegrino Matarazzo's side are yet to register a victory at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, with four draws and three defeats serving as their current home record. That is a complete contrast to their impeccable away form, but will the game against Gladbach provide the perfect opportunity to finally get that winning feeling in Stuttgart ?
As for Borussia Monchengladbach, a terrible end to 2020 has turned into a fantastic start to 2021. Winless for six games at the turn of the year, a victory against Arminia Bielefeld soon halted that run before last week's thriller against Bayern Munich.
Going into the match against the champions, even the most ardent Gladbach fans would not have expected a win. However, Jonas Hofmann and his team mates had other ideas after going 2-0 down. A pair of defence splitting passes from Lars Stindl set Hofmann away to make it 2-2 before a wonder goal from Florian Neuhaus sealed the victory.
VfB Stuttgart - There are two certain absentees for the hosts, as Hamadi Al Ghaddioui is out with a pelvic injury while Maxime Awoudja has an achilles problem. Clinton Mola and Momo Cisse are doubts, but there is some good news as Konstantions Mavropanos has recovered from a knee issue.
Borussia Monchengladbach - Marcus Thuram still remains suspended after his spitting incident against Hoffenheim. Alassane Plea, Breel Embolo, and Valentino Lazaro all remain doubts due to respective muscle, hand, and muscle injuries.
VfB Stuttgart - Gregor Kobel; Marc Oliver-Kempf, Waldemar Anton, Konstantinos Mavrapanos; Silas Wamangituka, Wataru Endo, Orel Mangala, Borna Sosa; Gonzalo Castro, Daniel Didavi; Nicolas Gonzalez
Borussia Monchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer, Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Ramy Bensebaini; Christoph Kramer, Florian Neuhaus; Patrick Herrmann, Lars Stindl, Jonas Hofmann; Alassane Plea
VfB Stuttgart - DLWLW - last game 4-1 (W) vs FC Augsburg
Borussia Monchengladbach - DLWWW - last game 3-2 (W) vs FC Bayern
Ones to watch
VfB Stuttgart - After an impressive start to life back in the Bundesliga, many players across the team have grabbed headlines, but none more so than 22 year old Argentinian Nicolas Gonzalez. Already a regular member of the national team, many have drawn comparisons between him and Paulo Dybala, who both operate best just behind the striker as a false centre forward of sorts. Gonzalez's form has been so impressive that there has been talk in recent weeks of a potential move to the English Premier League, in particular Tottenham Hotspur.
Borussia Monchengladbach - There is no surprise that the form of Monchengladbach with and without Jonas Hofmann is like chalk and cheese. On the back of a six game winless run, Hofmann returned to the team against Arminia Bielefeld after a hamstring problem and set up the eventual winning goal. Not only is it his potential match winning ability that is so crucial to Marco Rose's team, but also his tireless work ethic off the ball that may sometimes get overlooked. With Hofmann back fit again, expect a resurgence from Gladbach in the second half of the season.
The past five meetings between these two sides have gone the way of the hosts. The last team to win as visitors was the Foals back in 2015, with Granit Xhaka scoring one of three goals to lead Gladbach to a 3-1 victory.
Where to watch on TV
The game will be broadcasted live in the UK on BT Sport 1 at 17:30 GMT, while those in the United States will be able to watch the action unfold on ESPN +.
What have the managers said ?
VfB Stuttgart - Pellegrino Matarazzo: "Monchengladbach are a very strong side, who rotate a lot in midfield, who have good positional play and good timing for the forward balls. They're also dangerous on the counter and capable of defending with high intensity. I imagine it could be an attractive game for the viewers."
"We go into games with a brave and attacking mindset, and Monchengladbach also set up to attack. It's going to be a real challenge for us to go up against a team in the Champions League last 16."
Borussia Monchengladbach - Marco Rose: "Stuttgart have a young, very talented team. They play with lots of courage and power. They have a clear plan and defend with a lot of intensity."
"I have gotten to know Pellegrino Matarazzo as a very open and good man. Obviously he has followed Julian Nagelsmann a little, but you can also see that he has defined his own path."