Stuttgart has a major task ahead of them: defending champions and current La Liga leaders Barcelona travel to Germany for the first leg of the 2nd round match-up. As if that wasn’t difficult enough for them, history isn’t on the Stuttgart side either.
Barcelona is undefeated in its last 13 matches against German opposition and has won 11 of those. In 9 meetings with Spanish opponents, Stuttgart has only 1 win and 6 losses.
The German side currently sits in 9th place in the Bundesliga. A brutal start to the season saw them win only 2 of their first 16 matches. However they have come into form as of late, winning 6 and losing 1 in their last 7. At the very least they have avoided relegation and with 13 matches remaining, could even make an improbable run at next years Champions League. However all of their efforts should be staying alive in this years version of the event as they sit 9 points back of a qualifying spot. Stuttgart is a young side, no one over the age of 29 is on their first team roster, and features players such as Alexander Hleb, Khalid Boulahrouz, and Pavel Pogrebniak.
Barcelona on the other hand is enjoying a fine 2009-2010 domestic campaign. 18 wins in 23 matches sees them sit 2 points ahead of rivals Real Madrid atop the Spanish table. Barca has also won 6 of 7 and aside from losing 2-1 away to Athletico Madrid has allowed just 1 goal in that span. They have won matches by the scores of 3-0, 4-0, 4-0, and 5-0 in that span as well.
The Spanish host a bevy of talent on their roster, too numerous to list here in full. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is amongst the top attackers and will be looking to prove himself on the big stage, where he has often dissapointed. He will be joined up front by Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi and supported by Xavi and Iniesta.
The Germans play well at home, but they can’t contain the Spanish attack, having conceded in 7 straight CL contests. Barca goes home with a huge advantage.
LGM Prediction: Barcelona 2-1
Bordeaux vs Olympiakos
These two sides face each other in a competitive match for the first time ever in Tuesday’s 2nd knockout match-up in Greece.
Bordeaux currently sits 3 points atop the French table with a game in-hand to Montpellier. This is new territory for Bordeaux, having only once advanced past the 1st group stage in CL play and that was when the 2nd round was also done in groups. They drew twice and lost their other four matches on that occasion.
The French side has been in inconsistent form recently, having won twice, drawn 3 times, and lost once in its last 6. During that run they have scored 3 goals twice, but also been shut out an equal number of times.
Yoann Gourcuff pulls the strings for Bordeaux, but they will be without captain Alou Diarra. They are managed by former club and international star Laurent Blanc.
The Greek side has been nothing short of formidable at home, having only conceded one goal in their last 6 CL matches at home and are unbeaten in the last 8. However they have been equally incompetent on the offensive end, scoring only 4 goals in the 6 group stage matches, fewest amongst those who qualified for the knockout stages.
This one has a scoreless draw written all over it, but somehow the Greeks find a way to pull out a narrow win.
LGM Prediction: 1-0 Olympiakos.