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Preview: Stuttgart vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Stuttgart vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Stuttgart and Barcelona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Barcelona will continue their preparations for the start of their 2021-22 campaign with a pre-season contest against German outfit Stuttgart on Saturday night.

The La Liga giants have beaten Gimnastic and Girona in their two friendlies this summer, while Stuttgart have played four times in pre-season, recording three wins and one draw.

Match preview

Stuttgart started their preparations for the new season with a 10-1 victory over Hollenbach on July 6 before recording a 3-0 win over St Gallen four days later.

The Bundesliga outfit then played out a 1-1 draw with Darmstadt on July 14 before beating Arminia Bielefeld 5-2 on July 23, with the team building towards the start of their 2021-22 campaign.

The clash with Barcelona actually represents Stuttgart's final pre-season match of the summer, as they will take on BFC Dynamo in the DFB Pokal on August 7 before opening their Bundesliga campaign at home to newly-promoted Greuther Furth on August 14.

The Reds, who finished ninth in Germany's top flight last term, have been relatively busy during this summer's transfer window, signing Florian Muller, Chris Fuhrich, Naouirou Ahamada and Omer Beyaz.

Head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo will view this contest as valuable preparation for the start of competitive action on August 7, and it will be interesting to see how the German side perform against the Catalan giants.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have played twice during pre-season, recording a 4-0 victory over Gimnastic on July 21 before beating Girona 3-1 last weekend.

The La Liga club's financial problems are well documented, and Lionel Messi has still not officially signed a new contract at the club, which is far from ideal this close to the start of competitive action.

However, Ronald Koeman's side have managed to sign Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia on free transfers this summer, and an announcement on Messi is not believed to be too far away.

Barcelona will take on Red Bull Salzburg and Juventus in their next two matches after this one on August 4 and August 8 respectively before opening their 2021-22 La Liga campaign at home to Real Sociedad on August 15.

Messi might still be unavailable, but a strong squad has travelled to Germany, with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto set to feature on Saturday evening.

Stuttgart Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Barcelona Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W

Team News

Stuttgart will be without the services of Sasa Kalajdzic for the clash with Barcelona, as the striker has tested positive for coronavirus and is therefore isolating at home.

The German outfit will also be unable to call upon 23-year-old midfielder Fuhrich, who suffered a collarbone injury in the victory over Arminia Bielefeld last time out.

Hamadi Al Ghaddioui and Mohamed Sankoh are both in line for appearances in the final third of the field, while there is likely to be a spot in midfield for Daniel Didavi.

As for Barcelona, Depay and Antoine Griezmann both appeared off the bench against Girona last time out, and the pair could now come into the starting XI.

Rey Manaj has scored four times in two appearances for the Catalan giants this summer, and the 24-year-old forward should shake off a head injury to keep his position in the side.

Elsewhere, Alba and Busquets could come into the XI on Sunday, while Neto, Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti are likely to retain their spots in the starting team.

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Bredlow; Anton, Kempf, Mavropanos, Karazor; Didavi, Klement, Coulibaly, Massimo; Al Ghaddioui, Sakoh

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Neto; Dest, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Puig, Roberto, Busquets; Memphis, Manaj, Griezmann

We say: Stuttgart 2-2 Barcelona

This has all of the makings of an entertaining contest, and we are predicting a high-scoring draw on Saturday evening. Stuttgart are ahead of Barcelona in terms of their preparations for the new campaign, but the La Liga giants have seen their squad grow stronger with the return of a number of international players, which should make for a very competitive friendly.

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