Preview: Stuttgart vs. Borussia Dortmund - prediction, team

sportsmole.co.uk, 8 April 2021, 14:31

Stuttgart host Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the visitors having no more wriggle room in terms of qualifying for the Champions League after a damaging defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend.

Stuttgart, meanwhile, can move one point behind their forthcoming opponents with a win as they look to finish within the Europa League qualification places.

Match preview

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Having only been promoted last season, it has been a dream return to the Bundesliga for Stuttgart, who wrapped up a fourth successive home win against Werder Bremen last weekend.

In truth it was far from a vintage performance from Pellegrino Matarazzo 's side, though, as they failed to test opposing goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka until after the half-hour mark.

With only 10 minutes of normal time remaining, Stuttgart looked to be heading for their first goalless draw of the campaign, but Borna Sosa 's persistence down the left flank finally paid off when Ludwig Augustinsson inadvertently headed Sosa's cross into the back of his own net.

Another home win against Dortmund on Saturday would have Matarazzo and his players seriously dreaming of competing in Europe next campaign, which would have to be considered as an achievement considerably ahead of schedule for them.

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Dortmund should still have enough in them to be involved in European competition next season, but it looks unlikely to be the Champions League after a disastrous 2-1 defeat at home to Frankfurt last weekend left them seven points adrift of the top four places.

Nico Schulz 's own goal from Filip Kostic 's cross left them in a sticky position after only 11 minutes, but Mats Hummels equalised one minute before half-time after Emre Can diverted a corner into the defender's path.

Stefan Ilsanker looked to have restored Frankfurt's lead with a thumping header but saw his effort correctly ruled out for offside, but the visitors were not to be denied a winner, with Kostic assisting Andre Silva for the seventh time in the league this campaign in dramatic fashion with only three minutes of normal time on the clock.

Edin Terzic 's side were much improved away to Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie in midweek, though, remaining competitive throughout the 90 minutes against England's champions elect. Kevin De Bruyne put the Citizens ahead in the first half after a fine team move, but Erling Braut Haaland and Marco Reus clinically combined with only six minutes remaining as BVB looked to have secured an excellent score draw to take back with them to Dortmund.

However, former Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan squared for Phil Foden to snatch a dramatic winner, which still leaves Dortmund with a glimmer of hope of progressing and keeping their slim hopes of winning the competition alive. In terms of the league, though, there is simply no more room for error and they must capitalise on the fact that Frankfurt and Wolfsburg face each other earlier on in the day.

Stuttgart Bundesliga form:

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Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:

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Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):

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Team News

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Stuttgart were recently dealt a devastating blow in the form of Silas Wamangituka 's ACL injury, which could keep the winger on the sidelines until mid-November.

Nicolas Gonzalez has also been ruled out until the end of April after suffering a setback in terms of his recovery from a thigh issue, with Hamadi Al Ghaddioui, Clinton Mola and Lilian Egloff all unlikely to feature against Dortmund.

Jadon Sancho 's thigh injury will almost certainly not be risked given that there is an outside chance the England winger could feature in the second leg against his former club Man City, with Terzic perhaps tempted into making a few changes ahead of the home tie on Wednesday.

Indeed, Schulz, Thomas Delaney, Thorgan Hazard, Thomas Meunier, Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna will all be hoping to come into the starting XI if Terzic rings the changes.

Youssoufa Moukoko and Dan-Axel Zagadou will not be two of them, though, as both players have been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with shin and knee injuries respectively, while Marcel Schmelzer is also out until the end of April.

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:

Kobel; Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf; Coulibaly, Endo, Castro, Sosa; Didavi, Klimowicz; Kalajdzic

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:

Hitz; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Schulz; Delaney, Dahoud; Hazard, Brandt, Reyna; Haaland

We say: Stuttgart 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Stuttgart have been on an excellent run at home recently and appear to be playing Dortmund at exactly the right moment with their second leg against Man City on Wednesday potentially providing a huge distraction.

Realistically, Dortmund's race in terms of qualifying for the Champions League via a league position may be run, although if Wolfsburg can beat Frankfurt earlier on Saturday then that could provide a jolt of hope for them.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.

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