Stuttgart v Borussia Dortmund: Kramny desperate to move away from drop zone
Jurgen Kramny is hopeful Stuttgart can get a positive result from Saturday's Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund as they look to move away from the drop zone.
Stuttgart found themselves battling against relegation after a poor start to the season, but climbed up the table following Kramny's appointment in November.
The 44-year-old started his spell in charge of Stuttgart with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Dortmund, but then went on an eight-game unbeaten run.
A string of disappointing performances resulted in them dropping to 15th place, though, just two points clear of 16th-placed Werder Bremen, and Kramny's men will need a result against BVB to move closer to safety.
"Dortmund were very dominant in their DFB-Pokal win over Hertha [Berlin] on Wednesday and deserved their win. They will be high on confidence having made it to the final," the Stuttgart coach said at a news conference.
"But we need points in the battle against relegation. We have to cause our opponents problems if we are to get a good result, so that is what we will try to do. We have a few ideas on how to achieve this.
"We were in a difficult position when I took charge back in November and managed to get out of it. We now have to do the same again. We are optimistic heading into the final games and I am confident we can get enough points.
"We must fight hard, give our all and stick together."
Stuttgart face a tough task, though, as they are without a win in their last 11 Bundesliga fixtures against Dortmund (drawing five and losing six).
Dortmund, meanwhile, will be high on confidence after making it into the final of the DFB-Pokal, but CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has downplayed the importance of the cup and stressed the Bundesliga was always their top priority.
BVB, who could see rivals Bayern Munich seal the title this weekend, have already sealed qualification for next season's Champions League and Watzke is delighted with their league performances this term.
"We have to set ourselves apart from this title mania. If at the end of the day I have the choice between the DFB-Pokal and the Europa League games that will follow and coming second and qualifying for the Champions League, I will always know what I would take," Watzke said.
"The most important thing for us this season was to qualify for the Champions League. Then we can develop the club just like we want to. Without the Champions League you can't do that."
Dortmund will possibly still be without star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also missed Wednesday's trip to Hertha due to a knock.
Key Opta facts:
- Stuttgart have taken just two points from their last five matches.
- Christian Pulisic grabbed his first competitive goal for Borussia Dortmund last weekend and is now the Bundesliga's fourth-youngest scorer to date (17 years, 212 days).
- Stuttgart have only conceded more at this stage of a campaign on one occasion (72, 1974/75).
- Dortmund’s current tally of 71 points after 30 Bundesliga games of a season is a new club record. Their previous best was 69 (set in both 2010-11 and 2011-12).
- BVB have won six of the last seven competitive meetings with Stuttgart (D1) and are on a four-game winning run against them for the first time.