Stuttgart look to lift the gloom

VfB Stuttgart and Middlesbrough FC have had torrid spells since qualifying for the Round of 32 although the English side returned to form on Saturday.

With the UEFA Cup set to resume after its winter break, uefa.com looks at the form of the 32 clubs involved in first-leg ties this week.

VfB Stuttgart v Middlesbrough FC

Stuttgart go into their match against Middlesbrough in a state of transition after coach Giovanni Trapattoni paid for the team's lacklustre form with his job. The Italian was dismissed on 10 February and replaced with the little-known Armin Veh after the side failed to win any of their first three games following the German winter break. They lost 1-0 to strugglers MSV Duisburg and played out goalless draws against Werder Bremen and 1. FC Köln.

Veh failed arrest the slide in his first outing, however, as Stuttgart lost 2-1 at DSC Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday to drop to eighth in the Bundesliga standings. He has no new faces to call upon either as the side did not make any additions during the transfer window, but three players did leave. Swiss international Marco Streller and former Croatia captain Boris Živković will spend the rest of the season on loan at Köln, while Horst Heldt has retired.

Players registered: Marijan Kovačević, Steffen Dangelmayr, Bernd Nehrig, Andreas Beck, Sami Khedira, Vardar Tasci

Players out: Boris Živković, Marco Streller, Tobias Rathgeb, Marco Caligiuri

A generally miserable period for Middlesbrough has also seen them lose a number of key players to injury, with left-back Franck Queudrue and central midfielder George Boateng both key absentees although Boateng did return against Chelsea. Middlesbrough also decided against bringing anyone in during the transfer window, although summer signing Fábio Rochemback has now been registered while Andrew Davies and Andrew Taylor have both been recalled from loan spells elsewhere. Abel Xavier left the club after failing in his appeal against an 18-month suspension for a breach of anti-doping regulations while Slovakian international striker Szilárd Németh joined RC Strasbourg.

Players registered: Fábio Rochemback, Andrew Davies, Andrew Taylor

Players out: Szilárd Németh, Abel Xavier

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