BVB make the 200 mile trip to Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Arena tomorrow to play a side struggling in 13th place, who have alternately won-lost their last twelve league matches. Dortmund’s squad are fully fit with the exception of Roman Weidenfeller, who is recovering from a virus at home, meaning Mitchell Langerak will continue to deputise in goal.
After disappointing performances from Taye Taiwo and Kevin Großkreutz last time out, Surman may ring some changes, and Robert Lewandowski may get his first start since October after being injured for much of the winter.
Stuttgart were one of many Bundesliga sides who had a quiet transfer window, only sending out a couple of fringe players on loan to get more first-team experience. They sit 13th in the league, five points above the bottom three after an increasingly inconsistent season.
Their last twelve league matches has seen them alternate win-lose, though they face Dortmund, Leverkusen and Mönchengladbach this month so that run may be a tough one to break. The only injury worry is centre-back Georg Niedermeier who has a gashed head after a training ground accident.
Forecast: Breezy, 4ºC
When the clubs met in Dortmund back in September, it was a goal from Felipe Santana that won the match for the hosts. Santana headed home a corner in the 69th minute for the only goal of the game that sent BVB second.
Tomorrow’s referee will be Manuel Gräfe from Berlin, who takes charge of his first Dortmund match of the season. In his last ten matches he’s shown 28 yellow cards, including seven in the ill-tempered draw between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen. He’s sent off two players and awarded two penalties in those ten games.
Saturday’s live evening fixture between Hamburg and Bayern Munich is the pick of the weekend fixtures, with 5th hosting 3rd as both sides will look to close the gap on Dortmund and Schalke at the top of the table. Schalke entertain bottom-side Köln, while Dortmund travel to Stuttgart knowing that unless there’s a 18-goal swing, they’ll stay top come Monday.
SATURDAY 1ST FEBRUARY Freiburg v. Bochum Hamburg v. Bayern Munich (EVE) Hannover v. werder Bremen Leverkusen v. Fürth Nürnberg v. Mönchengladbach Schalke v. Köln Stuttgart v. Dortmund SUNDAY 2ND FEBRUARY Düsseldorf v. Wolfsburg Mainz v. Frankfurt