UEFA Champions League: Barcelona vs. Stuttgart
Holders FC Barcelona host Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart at Camp Nou aware that a goalless draw would be enough to book a quarter-final spot in the UEFA Champions League.
During the first leg of their round-of-16 tie three weeks ago, Cacau gave the German side a half-time lead, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for the Blaugrana after the interval to draw 1-1at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The Catalans have defeated Stuttgart eight straight times at Camp Nou, while Die Roten have never progressed past this phase of the competition, and lost 3-1 on its previous visit to Barca in 2007.
Ibrahimovich will be back in the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s 3-0 win against Valencia through suspension. On that game, Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to take his season’s tally to 22 league goals.
Xavi Hernandez will miss tonight’s fixture with a right leg muscle problem. The 30-year-old midfielder picked up the injury during training on Tuesday and he will be out of action for around two weeks, the club said in a statement.
There is some good news for Pep Guardiola, however, with the return to fitness of Seydou Keita, who has been given the approval to face the German side.
Stuttgart will be looking to join Bayern Munich as the second Bundesliga representatives in the last eight, while Barca need to restore some La Liga pride after Real Madrid was eliminated last week.
The match kicks-off at 20:45 CET.
UPDATE: Lionel Messi scored twice to lead Barca over Stuttgart 4-0 and into the Champions League quarterfinals (5-1 on aggregate).
[Image via Flickr]