Who would have seen this coming? Maybe Dortmund, actually. After 11 match days, VfB Stuttgart are still keeping pace with the big dogs, outperforming the likes of Leipzig and Freiburg. The scoring form of Sehrou Guirassy has caught attention not just in the Bundesliga but in all of world football, and Stuttgart have adapted their style to feed the prolific forward as many chances as possible.
Stuttgart always seemed to have the potential for more than they have achieved in recent seasons, with a rotating cast of promising young talents and solid squad pieces (see Sasa Kalazjdzic, Wataru Endo, and uhh, Gregor Kobel). Still, their organization never seemed to get the right formula, even with former Dortmund scout Sven Mistlintat working the back office. This season the stars have aligned for the club from a city more famous for sportscars than football, and it will be interesting to see how long they can keep pace at the top.
Player to Watch: Chris Führich
Yes, yes, this is not Sehrou Guirassy. But he’s injured. At least, that’s how it looks right now. Guirassy trained a bit with the team yesterday, but Sebastian Hoeness said he will not rush the striker back into the squad for fear of reaggravating an injury to their star man. So let’s look out left to the quiet hero who has been feeding Guirassy all these goals. With three goals and five assists, Chris Führich is having a season to remember on the left wing. Having recieved a call up by Julian Nagelsmann for the coming international break, Führich will be looking to provide an impressive performance in a bid to find some gametime with his national side. With Guirassy out, look to this German international to try to take up the gauntlet for his side.
Edin Terzic has most of his squad available, with some notable omissions. Emre Can will not be with the team for this match as he continues to recover from what I think was probably a nasty contusion in his thigh. Ramy Bensebaini seems to be back in action, but I’m not sure his return to the lineup is a guarantee. With Julian Brandt working nonstop for BVB against Newcastle, I could see him getting a rest, but Terzic also does not really rest anyone, so I might be off base here.
This match could go in any direction. Despite losing Guirassy to injury, Stuttgart have not lost much steam. Their 0-2 loss to Heidenheim last weekend will be a massive blow to their momentum, and if Guirassy cannot play, Dortmund need to come out confident and continue to reduce Stuttgart’s run of form to dust. If BVB can carry the energy and class from their win against Newcastle into the weekend, there’s no reason a 3-1 win shouldn’t be in the cards. If they are timid, Stuttgart have plenty of weapons even without Guirassy to punish a lackadaisical Dortmund.
Just as long as they do not repeat last season’s disaster.
Are BVB prepared to face a high flying Stuttgart side? Will Malen and Adeyemi return to the wings? Let us know in the comments.