Stuttgart ready for Dortmund test
Struggling Stuttgart will be looking to dent Borussia Dortmund's dominance of the Bundesliga when they travel to the Westfalenstadion this weekend.
Dortmund opened up a 12-point advantage at the top of the table last weekend thanks to a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen which underlined their title credentials.
Stuttgart would have normally been expected to be one of the sides challenging at the top of the table, but they need the three points for a different reason on Saturday.
Bruno Labbadia's men are currently three points adrift of safety inside the bottom three and, while recognising Dortmund's strength, the coach still wants a second successive win in 2011.
''The way in which Dortmund are playing is impressive,'' said Labbadia. ''They are extremely consistent and have come out of the winter break well, playing strong football and being prepared to run over 90 minutes.
''But anybody can beat anybody in the Bundesliga and we are looking forward to this challenge in a sold-out arena. We want the points.''
Stuttgart are bound to have many other fans this weekend too as the likes of Hannover, Mainz, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich hope for a favour to revive their own title hopes.
Hannover host Schalke on Saturday while Mainz entertain 2009 champions Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen travel to Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern welcome Kaiserslautern to the Allianz Arena.
This weekend's first match takes place in Hamburg, where the hosts can keep in touch with the top five with a win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.
The final game of the weekend sees Hoffenheim host St Pauli . Elsewhere, Werder Bremen travel to Cologne and Freiburg and Nurnberg lock horns at the Dreisamstadion.