Stevens seeking confident Stuttgart

​Huub Stevens hopes Stuttgart's superb second-half display at Freiburg has given them the confidence to pull away from the drop zone.

Stevens returned to the Mercedes-Benz Arena last Tuesday, just five months after resigning at the end of last season, and was able to inspire an immediate impact as Stuttgart claimed only their third win of the Bundesliga campaign by beating Freiburg 4-1 in his first game in charge last Friday.

Second-half goals from Carlos Gruezo, Timo Werner and Martin Harnik made sure of the points for the visitors at the Mage Solar Stadion after Harnik's 31st-minute opener had been cancelled out by Vladimir Darida.

Ahead of Saturday's visit of in-form former club Schalke, Stevens is adamant that Stuttgart have the quality to move clear of danger.

He told Bild: "When I arrived last season [with Stuttgart a point above the relegation zone], there was particularly great uncertainty. Now there is a degree of uncertainty but it is not so great.

"I hope the boys have learned from the second half in Freiburg that they can have more confidence.

"If you can keep this squad together [in the January transfer window], then I think that's enough to stay in the Bundesliga."

While Schalke are the opponents this weekend, it is the visitors' local rivals Borussia Dortmund that are shaping up to be one of Stuttgart's rivals to avoid the drop.

Jurgen Klopp's men – who finished second in each of the last two seasons – are bottom of the league with just 11 points.

And, although Stevens does not expect Dortmund to be fighting relegation this term, he believes they must spark a turnaround sooner rather than later.

"I cannot imagine that [Dortmund will be battling relegation]," Stevens added. "But clearly they have to be careful. Games like in Frankfurt [where Dortmund lost 2-0 last Sunday] show that it is going against you.

"This must not happen too often, because then it will be hard to get out because they are not used to playing against relegation. But they have so much quality, even more so if some players come back from injuries."