Mercedes Benz Arena
By Ben Sully
Stuttgart are still at risk of being automatically relegated, but their survival hopes would receive a boost if they are able to beat Wolfsburg on Saturday.
A 2-0 defeat to Hertha BSC last weekend did nothing to alleviate Stuttgart’s relegation fears, with Die Schwaben currently occupying the relegation playoff spot.
Stuttgart are winless in their last four matches, and they need to somehow pick up a win if they are to close the gap to Hertha, who are four points ahead of Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side.
Saturday’s hosts must also be wary of Arminia Bielefeld, who are in the automatic relegation places, with Die Arminen just two points adrift of Stuttgart.
With Bayern Munich and FC Köln still to play, Stuttgart will be fully aware of the importance of Saturday’s contest.
Ahead of their meeting with Wolfsburg, the hosts can take encouragement from the fact that they have won two of their last three home league games. They also have the chance to clinch a league double over Wolfsburg after winning 2-0 in the reverse fixture.
Pascal Stenzel was forced off against Hertha and the 26-year-old is expected to miss Saturday’s contest. Silas and Nikolas Nartey are also among those who will are sidelined due to injury issues.
Despite enduring an underwhelming season, Wolfsburg have alleviated relegation fears in recent weeks after collecting two victories from their last three matches.
Watching Wolfsburg has not been dull as they followed a 4-0 victory over Arminia Bielefeld with a 6-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund before they thrashed Mainz 5-0 last weekend.
Jonas Wind gave Die Wölfe an early lead before Mainz were reduced to ten men. Niklas Tauer was sent off after giving away a penalty, which Max Kruse dispatched and the former Union Berlin man was celebrating his second goal of the game just 11 minutes later. Jonas Wind wrapped up his brace three minutes before the interval, and there was still time in the first half for Kruse to seal his hat-trick.
Although they would have taken confidence from consecutive home victories, Wolfsburg have not fared as well on their travels, with their last ten away league matches yielding just one victory.
Wolfsburg have no new injury concerns, although Paulo Otavio, Luca Waldschmidt, Micky van de Ven and William are all still sidelined.
Final lineups are posted before start.
Hertha BSC – Stuttgart 2-0
|3||W Endo (c)|
|23||O Mangala ↪71|
|18||T. de Melo Tomas ↪87|
|22||C. Fuhrich ↪87|
|50||A. Tibidi ↩71|
|7||T. Coulibaly ↩87|
|8th||E Millot ↩87|
|11||E. Tommy ↩24|
Wolfsburg – Mainz 05 5-0
|20||R. Baku ↪74|
|24||X Schlager ↪64|
|23||J Wind ⚽⚽ ↪74|
|10||L. Nmecha ↪64|
|9||M Kruse ⚽⚽⚽ ↪81|
|17||M Philip ↩74|
|21||B. Bialek ↩64|
|22||F. Nmecha ↩64|
|40||K. Paredes ↩81|