Interim coach Jurgen Kramny takes charge of his first Stuttgart match on Sunday when the Bundesliga strugglers travel to high-flying Borussia Dortmund.
Under-23s coach Kramny was handed the reins on a temporary basis on Tuesday following the departure of Alexander Zorniger, who left his role after just six months in charge.
Stuttgart sit 16th in the Bundesliga, conceding 31 goals in their 13 league outings – more than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues – while claiming just 10 points and three wins in that time.
It is the lowest points tally the club has ever had from 13 top-flight games, with Kramny facing a tough task in trying to ensure his side a first win over Dortmund in 11 attempts.
Dortmund have not tasted defeat against Sunday’s visitors since January 2010, but Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner feels Kramny’s squad have a point to prove.
“We have a responsibility. We want to prove that we can play beyond our limits as well as hurt the opponents with our play,” he told the club’s official website.
“In the short term it is necessary to reduce the number of goals conceded. With 31 goals conceded, there are no two ways about it.
“Through [Kramny’s] work with the second team, he has a wealth of experience that will help us.
“Many players already know him and he is an open-minded guy, but a long-term solution would be ideal.”
Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund return to Signal Iduna Park for the first time since their Revierderby success, but do so off the back of defeats to Hamburg in the league and Krasnodar in the Europa League.
The loss in Russia came courtesy of an early penalty conceded by Mats Hummels and means Dortmund still have work to do to top Group C.
Former Stuttgart youth coach Tuchel felt Dortmund dominated the match despite losing 1-0 and jumped to the defence of Hummels, whose form has come in for criticism following an own goal in the defeat to Hamburg.
“If there was a slump in his performance, it lasted for 35 seconds,” Tuchel said.
“Mats showed good presence and won the ball a number of times. From watching him I thought he was very focused and put in a very good performance overall.
“He responded almost perfectly to criticism which has no base in reality.”
Key Opta stats:
– Borussia Dortmund’s 36 goals scored from 13 league games this season is their second best goal haul at this stage of a campaign. They netted 41 in their first top-flight campaign in 1963-64.
– Games involving Dortmund and Stuttgart have witnessed the most goals this season. Dortmund matches have seen 54 goals, while 48 have been netted in fixtures involving Stuttgart.
– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leads the Bundesliga scoring charts this season with 15. Cologne’s Dieter Muller was the last player to score 15 goals from the opening 13 matches in 1977-78.
– Stuttgart’s Przemyslaw Tyton (63.5 per cent) and Dortmund’s Roman Burki (60.9 per cent) have the worst save percentage among goalkeepers in the Bundesliga this season.
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