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Barcelona told to go for goals

Pep Guardiola will send his FC Barcelona side out to attack even though a goalless draw at home to VfB Stuttgart would book a UEFA Champions League quarter-final place.

Barcelona told to go for goals
Barcelona told to go for goals ©UEFA.com

FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola says his side will not curb their attacking instincts even though a goalless draw in the second leg of their tie with VfB Stuttgart would send the holders into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Stuttgart led at home through Cacau before Zlatan Ibrahimović levelled the tie and Christian Gross will keep faith with the side that held Barcelona three weeks ago.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
If we play to defend, we will be sent packing. Last season in the last 16 against Lyon we said the same thing; we are going to attack, have possession and create as many chances as possible because if we don't do that, we won't continue in the Champions League and will only have the league left. There's no other option. This match is a final and will set up the rest of the season for us.

Of course we can lose as Madrid did, without a doubt. It's a huge challenge to make it to the quarter-finals, [to be] among Europe's best, to equal Manchester United in reaching the quarter-finals for the third successive time. The team deserves the stadium to be absolutely full, I want the fans to back the team because we're much stronger with them behind us.

Christian Gross, Stuttgart coach
We have to play intelligently. We know Barcelona are an attacking team who always want to score. We have to be more disciplined than in the first leg, hold on to possession – that will be vital – and trust ourselves.

I plan to field the same team as in the first leg and I'm still thinking about a few things, like where to play [Aleksandr] Hleb. The strikers are doing a great job, we've played well recently and the team has a good leader on the pitch in Jens [Lehmann] so that's why I'm convinced we will play a great match. I will try to find the right formula: we have analysed Barcelona and our own game. Some of my players know the stadium and others don't, so we will use their experience. I don't think we have to be fearful and see what happens.

Team news
Eric Abidal (groin strain), Xavi Hernández (calf)
Carles Puyol (back)
Misses next match if booked:
Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué

• Xavi Hernández was ruled out on the day of the game after suffering a right calf tear in training on Tuesday.

• Seydou Keita has been passed fit to play after a recovering from the right hamstring tear that has kept him out for the past month.

• Puyol missed the Valencia CF match on Sunday due to back pain. He and Keita both face fitness tests on Tuesday.

• Lionel Messi, as captain of the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2009, will accept a cheque for €100,000 from UEFA before the second leg at Camp Nou to be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Martin Lanig (cruciate knee ligament), Arthur Boka (dislocated shoulder) Sven Ulreich (knee)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked:
Timo Gebhart

• Lanig, out since August, returned to training at the start of the month.

• Lehmann's goalkeeping understudy Ulreich was ruled out for six weeks after being hurt during Germany's UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying draw with Iceland on 2 March.

Weekend results
14/03/10 Barcelona 3-0 Valencia CF
(Messi 56 81 83)

• Messi's superb hat-trick ensured Barcelona ended the weekend still level on points with Real Madrid CF at the Liga summit.

• Bojan Krkić replaced the suspended Ibrahimović up front but made way for Thierry Henry at the interval.

12/03/10 FC Schalke 04 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
(Edu 46, Kuranyi 55; Tasci 50)

• A Friday night fixture giving them two days' more rest than Barcelona, ninth-placed Stuttgart went down to only their second defeat under Gross, his first away from home.

• Stuttgart have scored in their last 14 matches but have only one clean sheet in 15 games.

• Barcelona will aim to emulate the result when Stuttgart visited the Camp Nou in the 2007/08 group stage, when they won 3-1 having also prevailed 2-0 in Germany.

• Stuttgart have not been beyond the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League and are hoping to end a run of eight straight defeats for German opposition at Barcelona since a 2-1 win for FC Bayern München in November 1998.

Team Ties
• Penalties will be needed if there is a repeat of Gross's most recent visit to the Camp Nou, when his FC Basel 1893 side secured a 1-1 group-stage draw at Barcelona last season.

• Hleb, now on loan at Stuttgart, played the full 90 minutes of that game as well as Barcelona's 5-0 win at Basel a fortnight earlier.

Did you know?
• Stuttgart have never won in Spain but are unbeaten on the road in this season's competition, including a 1-1 draw at Sevilla FC.

Read more on the match in the official UEFA Champions League press kit.