Stuttgart v Borussia Dortmund – Mercedes-Benz-Arena at 19:30 Live at BT Sport

Four match days ago, Borussia Dortmund was sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga and five points clear of perennial champions Bayern Munich. Fast forward a month and BVB trail their bitter rivals by six points following the first Klassiker of the campaign.

There’s an underwhelming feeling in Germany that title favorites Bayern have already sealed the deal, or at least in Dortmund. Die Schwarzgelben were supposed to be the biggest threat to the Bavarians dominance and after a really promising start under Peter Bosz, BVB has failed to consistently produce.

Dortmund won four of their first five Bundesliga battles without conceding a goal. However, since the October international break, Die Schwarzgelben have managed a sole success in seven games across all competitions – against third-tier Magdeburg in the DFB Pokal.

Defeat against Bayern has left BVB down in third with local media claiming the club are “in crisis mode”, pointing to a lack of leadership in the current fallow spell. Even sporting director Michael Zorc put the boot in, criticizing the side and bemoaning how his team “weren’t close enough to our opponents.”

Bosz’s tactics and inflexibility has also come under scrutiny. Although the defending was poor once more, Dortmund did change tact from their ridiculously high line from earlier in the season but the repetition of errors in recent weeks has badly shaken confidence in the ranks.

Stuttgart no easy meat

There is some positive news, though, which is that their injury-list is beginning to ease although Erik Durm, Lukasz Piszczek, Sebastian Rode and Marco Reus are all likely to miss out again for Friday night’s trip to Stuttgart.

The hosts have had a reasonable return to the Bundesliga and lie 12th after a start to the season in which they’ve been unbeaten at home and lost every away game. Indeed, the Swabians have dropped just two points at the Mercedes-Benz Arena since winning promotion back to the top-flight.

The Greek winger Anastasios Donis is out with a dislocated shoulder while Dzemis Burnic is suspended and six further players are doubtful. Even so, Stuttgart’s pragmatic approach should keep them competitive here and backing the home side with a +1 start on the Asian Handicap line appeals at 1.83.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Stuttgart +1 at 1.660

By @MarkOHaire

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