Stuttgart - VfB Stuttgart's indifferent form continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Belgian side KRC Genk in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last 32 tie.

Stuttgart were mostly in charge in a low-key encounter and deserved their the first-half lead through Christian Gentner, but a late header from substitute Glynor Plet gave the Belgian side a priceless away goal.

Gentner opens scoring

Chances were at a premium in a largely uneventful opening. Stuttgart, hoping to bounce back from five consecutive Bundesliga defeats, enjoyed the larger share of possession but lacked ideas in the final third. Vedad Ibisevic should have done better than to shoot straight at keeper Laszlo Köteles, but Genk then gave the hosts a first warning when Sven Ulreich did well to keep out Elyaniv Barda's header .

Though their play looked stuttering at times, VfB managed to up the pressure as the first half progressed and made the breakthrough just before the interval when Köteles failed to clear Gotoku Sakai's left-footer, allowing Gentner to slot in the rebound. Ulreich then reacted brilliantly against Jelle Vossen's close-range attempt just before the break to keep his side's lead intact.

Concentration goes

The game still showed few signs of life after the break and neither team could apparently settle into any rhythm. Bruno Labbadia added new impetus to the hosts' attack on the hour mark by introducing Shinji Okazaki, and the Japanese international did go close only seconds after his introduction, but the home side's play still seemed laboured.

Both sides continued to mostly compete in the midfield areas, leaving each other little time and space to create anything up front. Stuttgart did look like the likely winners of the game, but were punished for making no use of their few opportunities when Plet exploited confusion in the VfB defence to head in a scrappy equaliser and leave VfB still looking for their first win in 2013.


Stuttgart: Ulreich - G. Sakai, Tasci, Niedermeier, Boka - Kvist, Gentner - Harnik (Okazaki, 57'), Torun (Holzhauser, 46'), Traore (Maxim, 74') - Ibisevic

Genk: Köteles - Ngcongca, Simaeys, Koulibaly, Tshimanga - Kumordzi (Gorius, 74'), Hyland - Buffel, de Ceulaer (Joseph-Monrose, 83') - Vossen (Plet, 68'), Barda

Goals: 1-0 Gentner (42'), 1-1 Plet (90+1')