Bayern Munich's relentless march towards the defence of their Bundesliga title continues with a visit to Stuttgart on Wednesday.
The Bavarian giants have opened up a 10-point gap at the summit of Germany's top flight, which will extend to 13 with a maximum haul over Thomas Schneider's side at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Pep Guardiola's charges resumed the Bundesliga campaign following the mid-season break with a comfortable 2-0 triumph at Borussia Monchengladbach, and in the process became the first team to come away from Borussia-Park with all three points this term.
That win extended Bayern's unbeaten away league run to 27 matches, and there appears to be little to suggest Guardiola's men will not make that 28, with Bayern dropping points on just two occasions this term.
Indeed, Bayern have beaten Stuttgart in the last six league meetings between the sides, and have not left the Mercedes-Benz Arena empty handed since a 3-1 defeat in November 2007.
The visitors can also take heart from a 3-2 victory over Stuttgart in last season's DFB-Pokal final.
Defender and captain Philipp Lahm believes victory would be a huge blow to Bayern's title rivals.
"It's a huge opportunity to extend our lead," he told the club's official website. "It would be hard to catch us (if we win)."
Franck Ribery could return to the fold to enhance Bayern's chances of victory, with the midfielder having sat out the Monchengladbach victory with a leg injury, while Arjen Robben came off the bench in that game after recovering from a knee complaint and will be pushing for a recall to the starting XI.
Stuttgart head into the encounter with just one victory in their last five league matches, and suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Mainz on Saturday.
That poor return has seen the side slump to 12th position in the Bundesliga, though a win would see the side move up to 10th.
Captain Christian Gentner is eager for a good showing against Bayern to make amends for the Mainz defeat.
"We see this game as an opportunity," he told Stuttgart's official website. "We want to win back some credit with the fans with a good performance."
|Coach: T. Schneider|
for G. Sakai 65'
for T. Werner 86'
for M. Abdellaoue 90+2'
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