VfB Stuttgart put their unbeaten home run from 2017 on the line when they host the Bundesliga’s form team Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night (kick-off 20:30 CET / 19:30 GMT).

Latest

For a team much more comfortable at home, this fixture will come as a relief to Stuttgart after back-to-back away games. They did secure their first point on the road at Hannover, but Hannes Wolf’s side are a much more formidable side at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, where they have not lost in 2017. VfB have no new injury concerns following the 1-0 loss at Werder Bremen, so may plump for the same starting XI. Top scorer Chadrac Akolo is back from a torn muscle, but may not be risked from the start.

Leverkusen are currently on the league’s longest unbeaten run following their 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund. They lost Chilean midfielder Charles Aranguiz to a calf injury in the second half of that game, and his replacement that day, Julian Baumgartlinger, is set to replace him in the starting XI. Left-back Wendell was also sent off in that tie, which could mean a reshuffle at the back with Panagiotis Retsos set for a start in a back-three. Forward Kevin Volland is on a hot streak, and the Bundesliga’s top scoring German continues to keep summer signing Lucas Alario out the side.

Watch: Identical twins, born just minutes apart – Leverkusen’s Bender brothers

Probable line-ups

Stuttgart: Zieler – Pavard, Badstuber, Baumgartl – Beck, Ascacibar, Gentner (c), Insua – Brekalo, Asano, Özcan
Absentees: Zimmermann (knee), Mane (knee), Meyer (thigh), Burnic (knee), Ginczek (hip)
Coach: Hannes Wolf

Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Tah, S. Bender, Retsos – Henrichs, L. Bender (c), Baumgartlinger, Bailey – Havertz, Brandt – Volland
Absentees: Wendell (suspended), Yurchenko (bruised foot), Aranguiz (calf)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich

Match stats

  • Stuttgart are unbeaten at home this season with five wins and a draw, winning 16 of their 17 points at the Mercedes-Benz Arena (94%, a league high). They’re the only team alongside Bayern yet to lose at home this term.
  • Leverkusen are on a nine-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga (W4, D5). It’s currently the longest run in the league and the longest for the club in two and a half years.
  • Stuttgart are without a win in 12 against Leverkusen (D3, L9), which is their longest winless run against a team in Bundesliga history. Die Werkself’s 33 Bundesliga victories over VfB is a club record. Leverkusen’s 15 league wins at Stuttgart is also the most in their history.
  • Leverkusen have scored in their last 19 Bundesliga games. It’s currently the longest run in the league and the best for the club in 12 years.
  • Bayer have scored in their last 17 encounters with Stuttgart. They were last held ten years ago.
  • Kevin Volland has scored in his last four Bundesliga games. He’s only previously managed that in 2013 for Hoffenheim.

Click here for the Stuttgart vs. Leverkusen Match Centre!


Source link