DAVID SMITH - Monday, March 7, 2011
Matt Taylor and Ahlen will look to distance themselves from the 3. Liga's relegation zone on Tuesday afternoon when they host Stuttgart II in a makeup from November's game postponed due to snowfall.
Ahlen suffered a huge letdown over the weekend, blowing a two-goal halftime lead in Jena and being forced to settle for a disappointing draw.
After a three-game drought, Taylor seemed to find his scoring touch again, netting his 11th and 12th goals of the season in the draw, but will hope to contribute in a winning effort on Tuesday against the division's ninth-placed team.
Ahlen are still in the thick of a relegation battle, sitting just two points out of the drop zone, although they do hold one game in hand over two of the three teams directly below them heading into the contest.
Stuttgart's U23 team has looked strong since returning from the winter break; although they lost over the weekend to Sandhausen, they have done well in recent weeks, losing on just one other occasion while notching up four wins and two draws over their last eight.
Head coach Jürgen Seeberger has a host of injuries to contend with; forward Michael Gardawski is out with a torn ankle ligament, while fellow frontline mates Tobias Rühle and Pascal Breier are absent through respective thigh and ankle problems. Additionally, defender Sebastian Hertner has a thigh problem, Daniel Vier and Sven Schimmel have ankle injuries, and long-term injury casualties Sebastian Enderle, Moritz Kuhn and Öztürk Karatas continue to be sidelined with various problems.
Ahlen have the good fortune of a nearly healthy squad, as defender Erdal Celik was included on the bench for Saturday's draw after recovering from a meniscus injury, while midfielder Janis Kraus continues his long injury absence.