Heidenheim defeated Stuttgart 2-0 last weekend, while Dortmund lost Der Klassiker to Bayern Munich 4-0 at home.
Stuttgart started the season with an incredible 21 points out of a possible 24, but in the last few weeks, they have fallen back to earth as Hoffenheim and Heidenheim have defeated Die Schwaben in back-to-back league games.
Between those league losses was a home win against Union Berlin in the DFB-Pokal, and since Stuttgart has been battling relegation for the most part of the last few years, their supporters can still reasonably be disappointed with the way the season has started. After all, they are still third in the table after ten games.
Heidenheim had 17 shots compared to Stuttgart’s 19 during the match, but late goals from Tim Kleindienst and Jan Schoppner gave the recently promoted team a vital victory. Both teams struggled to break the deadlock at Voith-Arena last weekend.
Naturally, it is not surprising that Serhou Guirassy’s hamstring injury and Stuttgart’s decline in performance have occurred at the same time.
Before being substituted against Union Berlin in his team’s 3-0 victory in the capital last month, the 27-year-old scored 14 goals in eight league games. Even a team with more depth than Stuttgart would struggle to replace a striker of his quality.
But, Guirassy’s contract purportedly contains a release clause of about £15 million, so the Guinean striker’s absence from Stuttgart’s starting lineup may soon become a permanent problem.
Before the loss to Heidenheim, former Brighton & Hove Albion attacker Deniz Undav had scored five goals in five games. This weekend, he’ll be looking to reclaim his shooting form.
For Dortmund, November has been much more of a rollercoaster ride. On the one hand, they have increased their chances of winning the DFB-Pokal and making it to the Champions League knockout stages, but on the other hand, they have lost more ground on the top two teams in the Bundesliga.
At Signal Iduna Park, BVB was hammered 4-0 by Bayern, with Harry Kane scoring a hat-trick in his debut Der Klassiker game.
After just four minutes, Dayot Upamecano gave the visitors the lead. This helped them stay two points behind league leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who defeated Hoffenheim to go seven points clear of Stuttgart and Dortmund.
Additionally, Edin Terzic’s team defeated Hoffenheim to advance to the DFB-Pokal third round, which they will realistically aim to win as Bayern and holders RB Leipzig have already been eliminated from the competition.
More importantly, Dortmund defeated Newcastle United on Tuesday to take the lead in Group F of the Champions League.
The hosts secured a well-earned victory with goals from Niclas Fullkrug and Julian Brandt just before halftime, placing them in a solid position to advance from this season’s “Group of Death.”
There is still more work to be done, though, as they have to go to AC Milan before playing Paris Saint-Germain on the last matchday.
Before an extremely challenging run of fixtures begins for them on three fronts, Terzic and his men will be trying to sneak back into their domestic title picture by defeating Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach either side of the impending international break.
Stuttgart Bundesliga form:
W W W W L L
Stuttgart form (all competitions):
W W W L W L
Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:
W W W W D L
Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):
W W D W L W
Due to a hamstring injury, Guirassy is set to be out of Stuttgart’s lineup; however, following the international break, the 27-year-old should be fully recovered and ready to play when his team travels to Eintracht Frankfurt. He will continue to be replaced in the attack by Undav.
Due to a knee injury, Nicolas Nartey is still out, and Pascal Stenzel is also questionable because of a thigh strain. Jeong Woo-yeong, who has struggled to make an impression since signing from Freiburg in the summer, may lose out on a recall in favor of Enzo Millot.
Dortmund, on the other hand, could have to make a few adjustments following a demanding stretch of games in recent weeks. Donyell Malen was completely rested against Newcastle, meaning that club captain Marco Reus was only used as a substitute for Salih Ozcan and Karem Adeyemi, giving the visitors’ offense a boost.
It is anticipated that injuries will keep Julian Duranville, Emre Can, Mateu Morey, and Marius Wolf out of action. However, Ramy Bensebaini may be called upon to play left back, freeing up Julian Ryerson to play on his preferred right flank.
Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Nubel; Rouault, Anton, Zagadou, Ito; Karazor, Stiller; Silas, Millot, Fuhrich; Undav
Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini; Sabitzer, Nmecha; Malen, Reus, Brandt; Fullkrug
We say: Stuttgart 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Guirassy’s temporary injury layoff meant that Stuttgart’s unexpectedly strong start to the season was almost certain to stop, and if he is unable to play on Saturday, we anticipate Dortmund to get back to winning ways in the Bundesliga.
In the Champions League midweek, Terzic’s team defeated Newcastle, demonstrating remarkable fortitude in the wake of their humiliation in Der Klassiker.
They will be aware that if they are to have any chance of overtaking Leverkusen and Bayern at the top, they cannot afford to lose any more needless points.