Recently promoted VfB Stuttgart’s visit to Dortmund is not a game where anyone at BvB will be happy with a point. And yet, Stuttgart is not some minnow from the 2. Bundesliga just happy to be here. Stuttgart is the capital of southwest Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state and the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz, whose name adorns the team’s shirts as well as its stadium. An original member of the Bundesliga, and five time Champions of the league, Stuttgart are more of a fallen giant, fighting hard to reclaim what they see as their rightful place atop German football.
Once renowned for an academy that included Sami Khedira, Timo Werner, Antonio Rüdiger, and Bernd Leno among many others, Stuttgart is working to rebuild that pipeline and do better, this time, at holding on to some of its brightest young stars. Their American-born coach, Pellegrino Matarazzo served under Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim, before leading Stuttgart in its push for promotion last season. His energetic style of play and focus on developing young players has frequently been compared to that of his former boss. Captained by our old friend, Gonazalo Castro, the Swabians have yet to lose away from home this season, and currently sit comfortably in eighth place, only five points behind Dortmund.
How They Might Line Up
Haaland and Meunier will definitely be out, while Akanji (knee), Dahoud (ill), Delaney (back), Hazard (muscular), Morey (muscular) and Reinier are all doubtful for the game. As I write, we don’t have specific news on Guerreiro’s availability and remain hopeful that he will be able to play. For Stuttgart, they will be without their captain, former Dortmund regular Gonzalo Castro, who is suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards.
The Dortmund lineup more or less picks itself out of the available players, but after a midweek trip to Russia, are any of them fully fit? Brandt and Moukoko will most likely be options on the bench, as neither of them have done enough to claim that they have earned a starting spot. It is possible that Piszczek could start in defense and allow Emre Can to step into the midfield. It might also be tempting to go back to the 4-2-3-1 and give Moukoko his first start of the season in an effort to unlock the attack. Whatever Favre decides, it will be vital for Dortmund to find a way to score some goals, and relieve the pressure on the defense.
What do you think? How should Favre set up the team to face VfB Stuttgart?