11 February 2019
The Bundesliga returnees go head-to-head at the Esprit Arena as Fortuna Dusseldorf host the relegation strugglers Stuttgart.
Lapses in concentration followed by plenty of ups and downs have so far highlighted Fortuna Dusseldorf’s season, with the returnees winning and losing in sequences. The hosts have gone from four straight Bundesliga triumphs to two games without a victory (D1, L1) as they currently sit seven points clear of the relegation-threatened Stuttgart. A victory in this bottom-half-of the table clash would be a massive step forward for Friedhelm Funkel’s men in their battle to preserve the top-flight status for another year. Funkel has every reason to hope for a positive outcome, considering his players clinched three victories in their last five BL home outings (W3, L2). However, Fortuna’s biggest concern ahead of this meeting is the fact they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in 9 of 10 BL home games, conceding 17 goals.
On the other hand, the visitors, who frantically try to end a five-game BL winless streak (D1, L4), can’t afford a failure here as they currently trail 15th-placed Augsburg by three points. But, winning away from home seems easier said than done considering the Reds have suffered more defeats on the road (8) than any other team in the German top tier this campaign. Stuttgart’s disastrous road record (W1, D1, L8) is followed by even worse -17 goal difference (S7, C24), with Markus Weinzierl’s men conceding over 1.5 goals per match nine times in ten BL away clashes (worst defensive tally in the Bundesliga). What’s more, the Swabians have lost four consecutive BL road meetings, conceding 11 goals while scoring only one in the process. At this point, the only thing that can console Weinzierl is that Stuttgart avoided defeat in the last two H2H meetings with Fortuna Dusseldorf, keeping a clean slate on both occasions.
Provisional line-up – Fortuna Dusseldorf:
Gk: Rensing Defense: Ayhan – Bodzek – Hoffman – Giesselmann Midfield: Oliver Fink – Stoger – Zimmermann – Alfredo Morales Attack: Hennings – Ducksch
Provisional line-up – Stuttgart:
Gk: Zieler Defense: Insua – Kempf – Kabak – Pavard Midfield: Ascacibar – Gentner – Zuber Attack: Esswein – Donis – Nicolas Gonzalez
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