Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart were held to a goalless draw on home turf in their UEFA Europa League encounter with FC Copenhagen, a result which leaves them bottom of Group E.

Chances were at a premium in a largely uneventful first-half, but Stuttgart should have been rewarded for their improved effort after the interval when the Swabians squandered a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Spark needed


The action got off to a quick start as Cesar Santin gave Stuttgart an early warning less than a minute into the game, only to see his long-range effort cleared at the expense of a corner. However, it remained to be one of few opportunities in a lacklustre first half. Ibrahima Traore could have broken the deadlock for the hosts on the quarter hour mark, but couldn't find the target from the edge of the box after scuffing his shot.

Stuttgart's wing-play proved ineffective as, for the most part, their numerous crosses failed to find the head of a teammate, while Copenhagen's well-organised build-up lacked precision once they crossed the halfway line. Santin did come close to scoring just before the interval, as the Brazilian forward and Stuttgart's goalkeeper Sven Ullreich fought for Lars Jacobsen's long ball, only for the resulting attempt to fly wide.

Close, but no cigar


VfB upped the pressure after the break, looking sharper and even came within a whisker of putting themselves ahead only for Johan Wiland to keep Vedad Ibsievic's long-range drive from finding the back of the net with a top save. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international could have scored in spectacular style shortly after, but his bicycle kick went over the crossbar, just like Christian Gentner's swerve did from 25 yards.

The home side found it increasingly difficult finding a way past the deep-lying guests and their frustration began to show in the closing stages of the encounter. Cristiano Molinaro forced Wiland to push his left-footed cracker from a corner around the post and lively substitute Tunay Torun twice went within an inch of scoring, but failed to get the better of the Swedish goalkeeper.

Line-ups:

VfB Stuttgart: Ulreich - G. Sakai (84' Hajnal), Tasci, Niedermeier, Molinaro - Kvist - Gentner, Holzhauser (46' Holzhauser) - Harnik, Traoré (62' Okazaki) - Ibisevic

FC Copenhagen: Wiland - Jacobsen, Stadsgaard, Sigurdsson, Bengtsson - Kristensen, Delaney - Bolanos, Claudemir, Gislason (80' Grindheim) - Santin (84' Cornelius)

Goals: -