VfB Stuttgart confirmed their passage to the UEFA Champions League group stage as a goalless second-leg draw against FC Timişoara at the VfB Arena, sent them through 2-0 on aggregate.
There was an air of expectation among the home fans prior to kick-off which made for a lively atmosphere, although the VfB faithful would have hoped for a more proficient attacking display. Stuttgart dictated the play from start to finish but failed to score against a Timişoara side who offered little to suggest they might reverse their two-goal deficit from the previous meeting.
Indeed, Stuttgart began the match as they meant to go on, forging the first chance on 12 minutes when Sami Khedira volleyed a swerving long-range effort past the top right corner. The Romanian visitors' riposte was swift, with Alexandru Curtean unfortunate to see a fierce right-foot effort fly wide of the near post from a similar distance, but Stuttgart were soon in control. With Aleksandr Hleb injured, Timo Gebhart provided much of the creative impetus and on 30 minutes goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon denied him from a tight angle after a mazy run.
Timişoara were limited to hopeful balls forward, although Stuttgart were grateful for Serdar Tasci's desperate challenge to prevent Arman Karamyan on the counterattack with left-back Ludovic Magnin stranded up-field. Still, the hosts continued to press and again went close as Pavel Pogrebnyak powered past Éder, only for Ciprian Marica to fire his centre over under pressure. There was time for one more chance before the break as Marica seized on a loose ball in midfield and fired from distance; Pantilimon saved.
It was more of the same after the restart as the Timişoara keeper denied Gebhart, though even he was helpless when Sebastian Rudy rattled the upright soon after. A goal seemed on the cards when Pogrebnyak blazed narrowly wide shortly afterwards but Timişoara stood firm. The visitors had offered little in return but almost took a surprise lead midway through the second half as Gheorghe Bucur stole in ahead of Jens Lehmann to head just wide. It was as close as they came to a goal, however, and Stuttgart cruised into Thursday's draw for the group stage for the third time in seven years.