Germany: Bundesliga
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Darmstadt
Stuttgart
A. Seydel (90)
S. Guirassy (14), P. Stenzel (45), M. Dahoud (90)
By Ben Sully@SullyBen

Darmstadt vs. Stuttgart preview: Can the hosts surprise their high-flying visitors?

Relegation-threatened Darmstadt will attempt to claim their first win since October when they welcome Stuttgart to the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor on Saturday.

Darmstadt


Having won just two of their 21 matches (D6, L13), Darmstadt are currently propping up the Bundesliga table with four points separating them from the relegation playoff spot. They are also nine points adrift of safety altogether, suggesting that the playoff place may represent their best hope of extending their top-flight stay into a second consecutive season.

However, they will need to spark an upturn in fortunes if they are to close the gap to 16th-placed Köln. Torsten Lieberknecht’s side are currently winless in 14 Bundesliga matches after they played out a goalless draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach in their most recent outing. As a result, Darmstadt have now failed to score in three consecutive matches since registering two goals in a draw with Eintracht Frankfurt last month.

After picking up a point at Borussia-Park, Darmstadt will return home for Saturday’s meeting with Stuttgart. The hosts will be desperate to show an improvement in front of their own supporters, having lost four of their last five home league games.
Team News

The hosts are expected to be without Gerrit Holtmann, Mathias Honsak, Fraser Hornby and Braydon Manu. Tobias Kempe is a doubt due to illness, while Matej Maglica and Tim Skarke are both suspended for Saturday's encounter.

Stuttgart


In contrast to their hosts, Stuttgart will carry significant momentum in Saturday’s encounter after winning each of their last three league games. After cruising to a 5-2 win over RB Leipzig, Stuttgart went on to record 3-1 victories against Freiburg and Mainz.

Maximilian Mittelstädt and Jamie Leweling both found the net in first-half stoppage time in last Sunday’s home meeting with Mainz. The in-form Deniz Undav scored his 14th league goal of the season in the second period, before Mainz’s Ludovic Ajorque netted a 76th-minute consolation.

Third-placed Stuttgart will continue their quest to secure Champions League qualification in their away meeting with Darmstadt. Die Schwaben will have the chance to complete a league double over Saturday’s opponents after recording a 3-1 victory when the two sides last met in September.
Team News

The visitors are unable to call upon Dan-Axel Zagadou and Nikolas Nartey. Sebastian Hoeness has also confirmed that Alex Nübel and Anthony Roualt will miss Saturday's away fixture due to injury.

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