Arminia Bielefeld vs Stuttgart preview:
Can Pellegrino Matarazzo's side continue their impressive form?
By Ben Sully @SullyBen
The relegation battle looks set to go to the wire and two teams that find themselves battling for survival will meet on Saturday, when Arminia Bielefeld play host to Stuttgart.
Bielefeld enter the weekend in the bottom two after losing their last four matches. Frank Kramer will not just be disappointed by the results, but also by the fact that his side failed to score in all four of those contests.
With that in mind, it is not surprising to see that Bielefeld have the worst goalscoring record in the Bundesliga after scoring only 22 goals in their 27 league matches this term.
They also hold the worst home record in the top flight after winning just two of their 13 home games this season. Although rather than defeats, Bielefeld have struggled to convert home draws into victories. In fact, Saturday's hosts have collected more home draws than any other side in the Bundesliga this season.
Kramer is expected to have a full squad for Saturday's contest after Masaya Okugawa returned to training this week.
Stuttgart will return from the two-week break in a confident mood after picking up seven points from their last three matches.
However, the outlook was not so positive a month ago, when Stuttgart ended the month of February in the bottom two with four points separating them from safety. A nine-game winless run had left the Swabians cut adrift, as they entered March still without a win in 2022.
So when Borussia Mönchengladbach took a two-goal lead inside 35 minutes of their meeting with Stuttgart, it seemed as though Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side were going to slump yet another defeat. However, Stuttgart turned that encounter around, with Wataru Endo pulling a goal back before half time, and within six minutes of the restart, the Swabians were level thanks to Chris Führich’s equaliser. A point was in their grasp, however, Saša Kalajdžić decided to cash in against a struggling Gladbach, with the Austrian international latching onto Borna Sosa’s cut-back before guiding the ball past Yann Sommer.
It was a late winner the Swabians looked like they wouldn’t be able to build upon, when Taiwo Awoniyi scored in the following fixture to put Union Berlin on course for victory. However, for the second game in a row, Stuttgart were to showcase their never say die attitude, with Sosa and Kalajdžić linking up to salvage a precious point in the 90th minute.
Fast forward seven days and Matarazzo’s charges were once again behind, on this occasion trailing 2-1 at home to fellow relegation strugglers Augsburg. However, goals from Omar Marmoush and Tomas Tiago ensured Stuttgart would once again come from behind to win 3-2 for the second home match in a row. The only regret for the Swabian faithful was that the international break could risk hampering their unrelenting momentum.
Stuttgart have a number of injury concerns, with Borna Sosa, Nikolas Nartey,
Philipp Forster and Silas are among those that will miss out for the visitors.