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1.Bundesliga Matchweek 9 Preview: Stuttgart vs. Bayern Munich (Sat. 15:30h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Stuttgart host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the visitors looking to get back to winning ways and remain top of the table having dropped points at home to Werder Bremen last weekend.

The home side, meanwhile, have drawn four league games in a row, but would surely not be too disappointed if that run was extended to five against the league leaders.

Christoph Baumgartner had given the hosts the lead after driving through the Stuttgart midfield before bending the ball around Gregor Kobel from the edge of the area, but Nicolas Gonzalez equalised two minutes later with a goal his compatriot Lionel Messi would have been proud of. Weaving inside from the right flank, the 22-year-old beat three players before calmly placing the ball into the far corner. The Argentine then struck the bar with a header, with Silas Wamangituka giving Stuttgart the lead from the rebound at the second attempt.

However, Wamangituka's goal came at a huge cost, with Gonzalez injured in the build-up and subsequently substituted, which helped turn the game in Hoffenheim's favour. The returning Andrej Kramaric found the onrushing Ryan Sessegnon, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, who drove forward and placed the ball through Kobel's legs to level proceedings. Waldemar Anton's clumsy foul on Florian Grillitsch allowed Kramaric to score from the spot to take his goal tally to seven in just four league games for the season and give the hosts the lead once again.

With time running out, Stuttgart looked to be heading for a first defeat since the opening game of the season, but Pellegrino Matarazzo's side showed their resolve with Marc-Oliver Kempf's last minute header earning yet another draw. They would almost certainly take a similar outcome against Bayern on Saturday.

Bayern, meanwhile, dropped points in a home league match for only the second time since Hansi Flick became the club's full-time manager last December in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Bremen.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, the Bavarians were arguably a touch fortunate to gain anything at all from the game, with Bremen penetrating Bayern's backline on several occasions and registering more shots on target than the hosts.

Bremen should have taken the lead even earlier than they did in the most played fixture in Bundesliga history, with Joshua Sargent and Kevin Mohwald both denied in quick succession by an inspired Manuel Neuer. After Leonardo Bittencourt blazed wide at the near post, Sargent cleverly turned Javi Martinezinside out before squaring the ball for Maximilian Eggestein to give Florian Kohfeldt's side the lead heading into the break.

Milot Rashica may have doubled Bremen's advantage early in the second half had it not been for Jerome Boateng superbly scrambling back to deny the Kosovo forward getting his shot away, before Kingsley Coman equalised with almost a carbon copy of his winning goal against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final in August. Leon Goretzka crossed from the right towards the back post, with the France winger heading the ball inside the far post to bring his side level.

Despite Eric Choupo-Moting blazing over from close range after good work by Leroy Sane down the left, Flick would have been relieved to emerge unscathed from the game after Sargent raced through once more only to be denied by Neuer once again.

Having secured qualification for the Champions League knockout stages for a 13th consecutive season with a 3-1 win over Red Bull Salzburg in midweek, all of Flick's attention will now be on extending his side's lead at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Stuttgart Bundesliga form: WWDDDD

Bayern Munich Bundesliga form: WWWWWD
Bayern Munich form (all competitions): WWWWDW

Team News

Matarazzo has something of an injury crisis developing at Stuttgart, with Momo Cisse (muscular), Clinton Mola (fitness), Erik Thommy (elbow), Konstantinos Mavropanos (knee), Hamadi Al Ghaddioui (pubitis) and Maxime Awoudja (Achilles) all likely to be out for the visit of the league leaders.

Most damagingly, Gonzalez could be out for up to three weeks after sustaining ligament damage in his knee against Hoffenheim. Sasa Kalajdzic, who started the season in superb form with three goals in his first three matches, is likely to return to the side.

Bayern, meanwhile, remain without key players Joshua Kimmich (knee) and Alphonso Davies (ankle), but Flick confirmed Niklas Sule is available once more having not featured in recent matchday squads.

Lucas Hernandez should be fit to start having recovered from a bruised pelvis to appear as a substitute against Salzburg in midweek, while Corentin Tolisso may be involved after recovering from a muscle injury.

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Stenzel, Anton, Kempf; Coulibaly, Endo, Mangala, Wamangituka; Castro, Didavi; Kalajdzic

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Martinez, Goretzka; Coman, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski

Source: Sports Mole / Brett Curtis 

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