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Professionals, 7. March 2018

Preparations for the home clash with Leipzig

On the back of four consecutive wins, VfB now switch their focus to the next tough challenge against RB Leipzig. Training included a 'Bundesliga Rookie Award' nominee and a returnee.

With four consecutive victories behind them and a home game to come, on Wednesday, VfB entered the telling phase of preparations ahead of this weekend’s clash with RB Leipzig. The club from Sachsen will be making their debut appearance in the Mercedes-Benz Arena this Sunday (kick-off 15:30 CET). The session on Wednesday included Wasenelf ever-present Benjamin Pavard. The French international is the only VfB outfield player not to have missed as much as a second of action this season. In February, the 21-year-old won some 68% of the challenges he entered – 71% on the ground – and committed just two fouls in 360 active minutes. The reward: The VfB defender has been nominated for the February 'Bundesliga Rookie Award'.

All the while, VfB other ever-present, goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, recommended his colleague remain concentrated and humble – as one should not forget: "We are a newly promoted team. First and foremost, we want to liberate ourselves from the threat of the drop." VfB’s brace-scorer in Cologne was not involved in the team-session on Wednesday: Mario Gomez undertook an individual session in the fitness-room.

Matthias Zimmermann returning step-by-step

And it wasn’t only the results in recent weeks that gave the Cannstatt Boys grounds for joy – a returnee also boosted spirits within the side: After a six month long injury forced lay-off, Matthias Zimmermann was back in team training on Wednesday. On Monday, Zimmermann went through the warm-up programme and did some shooting practice with his team mates who were not involved against 1. FC Köln on Sunday. Matthias Zimmermann: "It was the first step back into team training. We will now continually increase the intensity and I then hope to participate completely in full team training after the Freiburg game in a fortnight." The 25-year-old is clearly happy to be back amongst his team mates, having torn the cruciate ligament on his left knee during a pre-season friendly against FC Ingolstadt at the end of August.