First Milan, then Leverkusen, now Stuttgart: Borussia Dortmund face a third straight game away from home. On Wednesday evening (20:45 CET), the Black & Yellows will go head-to-head with VfB for a place in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal.
After the UEFA Champions League and the Bundesliga, BVB now face a trip away to Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday evening, where they will battle it out for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition. In the 3-1 win in Milan and the 1-1 draw in Leverkusen, it was the BVB defensive unit which impressed the most, marshalled by the in-form Mats Hummels. Coach Edin Terzic was full of praise for the veteran centre-back: "Mats is doing a fantastic job. He has had a huge role to play in us looking so stable recently."
His fellow defenders Niklas Süle and Ramy Bensebaini could return to the squad against Stuttgart. Both underwent individual training on Monday after recovering from colds. Salih Özcan, who was also sidelined with a cold but has already rejoined his teammates on the training ground, is one step closer. However, Giovanni Reyna has now caught the virus and is expected to be ruled out for Wednesday. Sebastien Haller is definitely unavailable, having suffered a minor injury in training which will keep him out for action for a week.
The striker will not be able to revitalise the team's attacking play in Stuttgart. This is a clear mandate from Edin Terzic: "We were unhappy with our attacking sequences in Leverkusen, both in terms of quantity and quality. There were some really good moves, but they were far and few between because we were sloppy in possession and couldn't play our way round their counter-pressing. We want to find a way to add this to our game in addition to our defensive stability," explained the coach.
A second trip to Stuttgart
BVB made their first trip to Stuttgart this season just three weeks ago in mid-November, losing 2-1 to VfB. "We want to do better. We discussed and analysed the game immediately afterwards. We will now recall that and learn from it," said Terzic. "But it's a different competition, it's a knockout game. We are ambitious in this competition. We want to prepare well and make sure we get through to the next round with a win."
In the first round of this season's cup competition, the Black & Yellows defeated TSV Schott Mainz 6-1 in mid-August. They then followed this up with a 1-0 win over TSV 1899 Hoffenheim to advance to the last 16. Stuttgart reached the round of 16 with victories over Balingen (4-0) and Union Berlin (1-0).
The two teams have met on five occasions in the DFB-Pokal to date, including three games in Stuttgart and two in Dortmund. Borussia have won three of these cup games, including the most recent one: a 3-1 away win for BVB in the quarter-finals in February 2016.