Game : VfB Stuttgart vs FC Barcelona
Venue : Mercedes Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany
Competition :- UEFA Champions League Round of 16- Leg 1
Date and time :- 23rd February, 2010, 20.45 CET
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Stuttgart had a horror start to the season under Armin Veh but things have improved at the Mercedes Benz Arena since Christian Gross took charge of the club in December last year. They were looking like relegation candidates a few months into the season but a strong run of form has seen them climb into a comfortable mid table position.
Stuttgart had to win at home against Unirea on Match Day 6 and they did just that- scoring three times in the first eleven minutes to leave Unirea dazed.
Stuttgart have been in excellent form- in their last seven Bundesliga games, they have won six and scored nineteen times. They routed FC Koln 5-1 on Saturday, with Cacau making the most of a rare start with a hat trick.
Stuttgart form- last five games- most recent first- scorers in brackets-
Koln 1-5 Stuttgart (Cacau*4, Pogrebanyak)
Stuttgart 1-3 HSV ( Christian Trasch)
Nuremberg 1-2 Stuttgart ( Timo Gebhart, Roberto Hilbert)
Stuttgart 4-1 Dortmund ( Christian Trasch, Ciprian Marica, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, OG)
Freiburg 0-1 Stuttgart ( Ciprian Marica)
Stuttgart coach Gross has stuck to a 4-4-2 in most of his Bundesliga games.
Gross’ opposite number Pep Guardiola prefers a 4-3-3. Barcelona crushed Racing Santander 4-0 on Saturday. It was a quick return to winning ways for Los Cules after their 2-1 loss to Atletico Madrid the week before. Carles Puyol will miss the next game if he gets a yellow card. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a doubt with a swollen ankle
Barcelona form- last five games- most recent first- Barcelona scorers in brackets-
Barcelona 4-0 Santander ( Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Andres Iniesta, Thiago)
Atletico 2-1 Barcelona ( Zlatan Ibrahimovic)
Barcelona 2-1 Getafe ( Lionel Messi, Xavi)
Sporting Gijon 0-1 Barcelona ( Pedro)
Valladolid 0-3 Barcelona ( Xavi, Dani Alves, Lionel Messi)
Verdict:- Stuttgart have been very good in recent weeks, and they would have already recognised the need for a good result at home if they are to have any hopes of progressing.
VfB Stuttgart 1-2 Barcelona ( Kuzmanovic/ Iniesta, Messi)