• Germany's news in English

Scrappy Stuttgart manages draw against Barcelona

AFP · 24 Feb 2010, 08:12

Published: 24 Feb 2010 08:12 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The high-tempo German side had by far the best first half, with Brazilian-born striker Cacau, fresh from four goals against Cologne on Saturday, stunning the Catalans with a goal on 25 minutes.

A perfectly delivered cross from Timo Gebhart found Cacau on the far post, who headed it powerfully past Victor Valdes' outstretched arm. Three minutes later Stuttgart had a strong shout for a penalty for handball turned down by referee Bjorn Kuipers as Pavel Pogrebnyak's cross hit Gerard Pique's arm.

A string of other chances followed in the Mercedes-Benz Arena as the home side ran rings around the ragged defending European champions.

On 18 minutes, in one of Barca's surprisingly rare forays into the Stuttgart half, Argentinian star Lionel Messi had a shot blocked, but their best chance came on 39 minutes as Messi shot from just outside the area.

Former Arsenal old boy Jens Lehmann got a hand to it, and the ball rolled perilously close to the target, only to hit the post and bounce back into the arms of a grateful 'keeper.

"We could have beaten Barcelona tonight," said Lehmann.

And Stuttgart coach Christian Gross, who has turned his side's fortune around after taking over from Markus Babbel before Christmas, agreed the Bundesliga side had blown their chance to beat the defending champions.

"We should have scored a second goal in the first half," Gross said. "We had clear chances."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it 1-1 on 52 minutes, heading it past Lehmann at close range after the German managed to block his first attempt.

Ibrahimovic admitted that the Germans had outperformed them in the first-half.

"They (Stuttgart) created good chances and controlled the game," said the Swedish striker. "In the second-half we improved and I scored the goal which is good for the

team. 1-1 is a good result. And as for the dream of retaining the trophy....absolutely it is still on."

Barca never looked like losing as Ibrahimovic's goal knocked the stuffing out of Stuttgart and they became increasingly desperate.

Story continues below…

In the last 10 minutes, Barca slowed the tempo right down, and the tired Germans hardly got a look-in.

On 67 minutes, a shot from Ibrahimovic hit Italian defender Cristian Molinaro on the upper arm on the goal line, but no handball was given.

The Catalans were almost back to full strength with the return from injury of midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who had had a thigh strain, and Ibrahimovic.

Still absent though was defender Dani Alves, out of action since earlier in the month with a leg muscle problem, as well as Malian midfielder Seydou Keita and French defender Eric Abidal.

Despite scoring Barca's second of four against Racing Santander on Saturday, fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry started on the bench, a place becoming painfully familiar to the 32-year-old former Arsenal star.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd