A much-changed Stuttgart side slipped to defeat in their final pre-season friendly against Barcelona on Saturday.
As it happened!
A much-changed Stuttgart side gave a good account of themselves against Barcelona, but ultimately were unable to find a way through the visiting defence in a 3-0 defeat.
WIDE FROM MANAJ
Puig slides a pass into the path of Manaj, who is free in front of goal. He shoots wide but it wouldn't have counted anyway as the referee's assistant raises his flag for offside.
CHANCE FOR POLSTER!
A cross from the right evades everyone in the Barcelona box and sits up nicely for Polster. He takes a shot but smashes it over - cramp seemed to attack his calf just as he was about to shoot and now he's limping off the pitch for treatment.
STUNNING SAVE FROM BREDLOW!
Pjanic's cross into middle catches Stuttgart out and there are two players unmarked at the back post. It comes to Manaj, who's only just come onto the pitch. He only has Bredlow to beat from eight yards out, but the VfB goalkeeper makes himself big and produces a stunning save to prevent Barcelona scoring a fourth.
Pjanic, Mortimer and Manaj come on for Roberto, Depay and Griezmann.
PUIG MAKES IT THREE
Griezmann disguises his pass well, releasing Puig into the box. Bredlow comes out to narrow the angle but the Barcelona youngster squeezes a shot past him that goes in off the near post.
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DEPAY ALMOST IN
Demir dinks an inviting ball over the defence looking for Depay, who's peeled away from his marker. The ball's just too high for him to reach though, and it bounces out for a goal kick.
De Jong, Nico and Gavi go off, Jordi Alba, Puig and Busquets come on.
KLIMOWICZ TRIES HIS LUCK
The Stuttgart midfielder has a pocket of space about 10 yards outside the Barcelona box. He lines up and shot and catches it well, but it sails wide of the post.
The hosts have had a good spell on the ball in the last few minutes, certainly more than they have had all game. Pellegrino Matarazzo's side haven't troubled their visitors much, but Polster is looking lively on the left.
SUPERB FROM STUTTGART
The hosts get behind the Barcelona defence for the first time all game as Polster runs deep and holds off his marker on the left. He pulls the ball into the middle and finds Massimo, who controls the ball and turns all in one movement. He's brought down and appeals for a penalty, but the referee waves play on.
Lenglet is forced off after coming off a tad worse for wear in a sliding tackle. He's replaced at the back by Araujo.
UNDER WAY AGAIN
Stuttgart get the ball rolling once more at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
BARCELONA LEAD AT THE BREAKThe visitors have a two-goal lead at the interval, having been the better of the two sides so far. Stuttgart have struggled to create any chances of note, although that brief glimpse right before the break will give them hope going into the second half.
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STUTTGART GO THREE-ON-TWO!
The best opening of the game for Stuttgart as they win possession in midfield and immediately charge forward, three attackers against two defenders. The ball is played over to the left to Polster, who immediately tries to find Massimo arriving in the middle, but his pass is slightly behind him and Barca manage to track back and clear.
The visitors are retaining possession in their ranks again, stroking the ball around midfield as they wait for an opening. Stuttgart can't be faulted for effort and they're defending compactly, denying the guests room in the final third.
OVER FROM GRIEZMANN
Stuttgart struggle to deal with a high ball into the box and eventually it pinballs to Griezmann at the back post. He snatches a shot away on the half-volley, but can't keep it down.
BARCELONA DOUBLE THEIR LEAD
The visitors pull further ahead and it must be said that it is a lovely goal. The Spanish side keep possession for what feels like an age, stringing a series of passes together before a Depay flick releases Griezmann into space down the left. He gets to the byline and crosses into the middle for Demir, who flicks in from close range.
POSITIVE FROM POLSTER
Stuttgart try to get forward down their left and Polster has the confidence to try to get past Sergi Roberto. He's tackles as he does so, it it's a positive sign from the youngster
MIDFIELD BATTLEPhilipp Klement gets to grips with Antoine Griezmann.
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DEPAY APPEALS AGAIN
Depay is taking up a lot of positions on the left, and this time he tries to take on Karazor. He goes to ground once again and looks to the referee for a free-kick just outside the box, but the official indicates no foul.
The visitors' pressure takes its toll as De Jong pings a pass from deep over the Stuttgart defence. Depay has timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap, and the Dutchman controls the ball well before cutting inside a defender and smashing the ball past Bredlow.
POSITIVE FROM KLIMOWICZ
The move ultimately came to nothing but it was a good sign from the hosts as Klimowicz strides forward in midfield, holds off a challenge and looks for a teammate higher up the pitch. A tidy dribble there.
Depay curls the set-piece into the box towards the far post, but none of his teammates are anywhere near it and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Kempf gives away a free-kick about 10 yards outside the Stuttgart area after a clumsy challenge on Demir.
DEPAY GOES DOWN
Barcelona's summer signing shows some fancy footwork in the box as he tries to take on Stenzel. He goes to ground and appeals for a penalty, but the referee waves for play to continue.
STRONG FROM MASSIMO
Dest tries to go past Massimo on the outside down the left wing, but the VfB man is having none of it and stands his ground, bumping the USA international off the ball and regaining possession for his side.
NO WAY THROUGH
The match seems to have settled into a pattern now, with Barcelona probing and enjoying more of the ball and Stuttgart absorbing the pressure and looking to hit them on the break.
Barcelona have immediately taken charge of the ball and are keeping possession among themselves. Stuttgart aren't allowing them any space in midfield though, so the visitors can't get very far.
AND WE'RE OFF!
Griezmann gets the ball rolling for Barcelona in Stuttgart!
STUTTGART STARTING XI
Bredlow - Nothnagel, Stenzel (c), Kempf - Massimo, Weil, Karazor, Polster - Förster, Klement - Klimowicz
BARCELONA STARTING XI
Neto - Dest, Pique (c), Lenglet - Roberto, Nico, De Jong, Gavi - Demir, Greizmann, Memphis
The match was originally scheduled to kick-off at 18:00 CEST, but the Barcelona team got caught in heavy traffic on their way to the stadium so it has been rescheduled for 19:00 CEST.
HELLO AND WELCOME
Thanks for joining us for a high-profile friendly as Spanish giants Barcelona rock up in Stuttgart.
Stuttgart have so far enjoyed a five-game unbeaten run in pre-season, with a 1-1 draw with Jürgen Klopp's English Premier League outfit Liverpool and a 5-2 victory over Arminia Bielefeld particularly impressive results at this stage of the campaign. Teenage striker Mohamed Sankoh has hit five goals already, while Hamadi Al Ghaddioui has four to his name - including a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over St. Gallen - in the absence of Austria's UEFA Euro 2020 star Sasa Kalajdzic. Last season's 16-goal top-scorer has returned to training but is not available for the visit of Barcelona. At the other end of the pitch, Fabian Bredlow will continue in goal until summer signing Florian Müller returns from international duty with Germany at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The slated kick-off time has been moved an hour later to 6pm GMT+2 after the visitors were caught in heavy traffic on route to the stadium.
Barca's preparations have otherwise been uncomplicated and this week they were able to welcome back to training European Championship stars Jordi Alba, Martin Braithwaite and Sergio Busquets. Headline act Lionel Messi is an absentee after leading Argentina to Copa America glory this summer, while Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Oscar Mingueza and Pedri are also yet to join up with their teammates. It's the same case for one-time Bayern Munich loanee Philippe Coutinho. Former Borussia Dortmund man Ousmane Dembele also misses out through injury, as does ex-Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Those that have travelled with the squad, however, include the likes of reigning world champion Antoine Griezmann, as well as the Dutch duo of Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong, who all start in Stuttgart.
- Stuttgart have faced Barcelona four times in competitive matches but are yet to taste victory over the Spanish giants. Barca have won three and there has been one draw between the two, with all four games coming in the UEFA Champions League.
- Cacau and Antonio da Silva - who both won the Bundesliga with Stuttgart in 2006/07 - are the two players to have scored against Barcelona for VfB across those four previous meetings.
- Kalajdzic's goal against eventual Euro 2020 champions Italy in the quarter-finals of the tournament was his fourth in just 11 senior international outings.
- Coutinho made 38 appearances - scoring 11 times and providing nine assists across all competitions in the 2019/20 campaign with Bayern, collecting a Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League treble of trophies in the process.
- Die Mannschaft goalie Ter Stegen featured 108 times for Gladbach in the German top-flight, keeping 36 clean sheets in the process.
- Dembele was named the 2016/17 Bundesliga Rookie of the Season after his single season at the Signal Iduna Park that proceeded his move to the Camp Nou.
Stuttgart: Bredlow - Nothnagel, Stenzel (c), Kempf - Massimo, Weil, Karazor, Polster - Förster, Klement - Klimowicz
Subs: Schock, Michel, Maglica, Wolf, Bazzoli
Out: Ahamada (calf), Cisse (foot), Egloff (foot), Führich (collarbone), Kalajdzic (not included), Mola (hip), Silas (knee)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Barcelona: Neto - Dest, Pique (c), Lenglet - Roberto, Nico, De Jong, Gavi - Demir, Greizmann, Memphis
Out: Dembele (hamstring), Mingueza (muscular), ter Stegen (knee), Wague (knee)
Coach: Ronald Koeman