Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Stuttgart boss Armin Veh is deighted to be facing Barcelona tonight, seeing the ecnounter as the culmination of his work as a coach.
“This is a dream come true,” he said. “I used to watch Johan Cruyff’s side and loved the way they played, so free-flowing, so attacking. Ever since I started coaching it has been a dream of mine to stand on the touchline against Barcelona.”
The German champions have endured a mixed start to their title defence, their 2-1 weekend defeat at Hansa Rostock being a fourth defeat in eight Bundesliga outings. But the coach is upbeat, saying: “It’s not time to talk of salvaging our season yet – there are only eight games gone.”
Having lost 2-1 at Rangers in their opening Champions League game, the onus is on Stuttgart to take something from Tuesday’s game.
“Barcelona are obviously stronger than us and they will start as massive favourites, but we won’t change our way of playing just because it is them,” said Veh, who will make a late decision on the fitness of Y?ld?ray Basturk after Thomas Hitzlsberger was ruled out with a broken toe.
The visitors have injury problems of their own: Yaya Toure joined Gianluca Zambrotta and Samuel Eto’o on the sidelines when he injured his thigh in Saturday’s 4-1 victory at Levante, and Gabriel Milito is also struggling with a hip injury.
“It’s the Champions League and no game is easy,” said Frank Rijkaard, aware that his side are heavily favoured to prevail.
“The standard is always very high, and we’ll be playing a team with their crowd behind them. I understand why people would say we are favourites but you have to prove it on the pitch.”
“Stuttgart are a good, strong team, especially at home, so we have to prepare well and work hard. I never underestimate our opponents before the fight.”