December 8, 2012
VfB Stuttgart v Schalke 04: Preview
Team Stat Comparison
|VfB Stuttgart||Schalke 04|
|Goals for *||1.2||1.4|
|Goals against *||1.6||1.6|
|Last 5 home||D-L-W-W-L||L-W-D-W-W|
|Last 5 away||W-L-D-W-L||W-W-L-W-L|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: VfB Stuttgart | Schalke 04|
Stuttgart have little time to get over their relief at qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League last night as they are already back in action in the Bundesliga tomorrow.
A 1-0 defeat at home to Molde could, and perhaps should, have resulted in elimination from Europe for the Swabians, but Steaua Bucharest did them a favour by denying Copenhagen victory in Denmark, meaning Bruno Labbadia's side still managed to clinch second spot.
However, the Stuttgart coach was far from satisfied with his side's performance and will be demanding improvements against Schalke.
"We didn't do anything that we had planned in the first half,'' he said.
"The culmination was their goal. Our organisation was catastrophic. It is frustrating that we didn't get a goal.
"It has been a group stage with many ups and downs and, at the end of the day, the positive is that we have reached our goal and gone through.''
Schalke also had a somewhat disappointing end to their 2012 European campaign with a 1-1 draw at Montpellier, and they too received a favour, this time from Olympiacos, to top their Champions League group.
"We can be proud of that,'' said their coach Huub Stevens "But the knockout stage doesn't start until February and, as they say, the next game is always the most difficult.''
That next game is in Stuttgart, where the Royal Blues will look to reverse a recent dip in league form.
"We want to show what we have in us,'' added Stevens. "If we were to go there with a bad feeling, then that wouldn't be good.''
Although his side have had two extra days of rest, Stevens does not expect that to be an advantage.
"Stuttgart were at home against Molde and are at home against us,'' he explained. "We, on the other hand, had to travel to Montpellier and now we are travelling again.
"Sometimes, travelling is no less of a strain than the match itself.''
Both coaches are therefore likely to make changes to their sides to try and keep everybody fresh for the remaining three games of 2012.