In the first midweek fixture of the Bundesliga season, RB Leipzig entertain a side that has endured a difficult start and have been unable to continue the form that saw them rise to seventh with four consecutive wins at the end of the last campaign.
Receiving the tag of the early-season strugglers, Stuttgart find themselves in a position looking shamefully up at everyone, except Schalke 04, in the table, as they sit 17th after four matches. It was looking bright during pre-season as they made some clever acquisitions and achieved respectable results against Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad, but things went south when it came down to business. Starting on the wrong end of a cup upset at the hands of Hansa Rostock, back-to-back defeats to Mainz 05 and Bayern Munich followed. However, in recent weeks, they have been able to somewhat turn the results around, securing draws against Freiburg and Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Off the back of their Europa League defeat to Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig made the trip to Frankfurt in the torrential rain on Sunday with a point to prove. Despite a culmination of errors resulting in an Eintracht opener, Leipzig snatched an equaliser from the penalty spot as Emil Forsberg held his nerve to place it down the middle in the 53rd minute to earn a point on their travels. With just five points to their name after four matches, Ralf Rangnick will hope that a win on Wednesday could kick-start their season and begin a push for a Champions League place at the end of the campaign.
After being dropped as a result of the phone-gate scandal on Thursday, Jean-Kévin Augustin and Nordi Mukiele will return to the squad and could feature from the start. Marcelo Saracchi will be rested as a precaution, while Marcel Halstenberg could make his first start since December.
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Kick-off: 20:30 (CEST)
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Referee: Robert Schroder
Broadcasting: Sky Sport Bundesliga 5 (Germany) | BT Sport Extra (United Kingdom)
21.10.17: RB Leipzig 1-0 Stuttgart
11.03.18: Stuttgart 0-0 RB Leipzig
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 (H) | Zagłębie Lubin 1-0 (H) | Hannover 96 3-2 (H) | Red Bull Salzburg 2-3 (H) | Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 (A)
Hansa Rostock 2-0 (A) | Mainz 05 1-0 (A) | Bayern Munich 0-3 (H) | Freiburg 3-3 (A) | Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-0 (H)
Injured: Lukas Klostermann (knee) | Marcelo Saracchi (thigh) | Marius Müller (knee)
Injured: Alexander Meyer (cruciate ligament) | Borna Sosa (back) | Marc-Oliver Kempf (muscle fibre)
Mukiele – Orban – Konaté – Halstenberg
Kampl – Ilsanker
Sabitzer – Bruma
Cunha – Augustin
Maffeo – Baumgartl – Pavard – Insúa
Akolo – Ascacibar – Thommy – González
Ralf Rangnick: “Stuttgart are a side who will try to break you down. It will be important for us to find the right balance between attack and defence. We managed to find this in the second half against Frankfurt.
We want to bring our A game for the entire 90 minutes at home tomorrow. Our aim is to win. We also want to get the fans behind us and give them a good performance.”
Quotes via Twitter/@RBLeipzig_EN
RB Leipzig 2-0 Stuttgart