While arch-rivals Real Madrid lost against the Rangers of Steven Gerrad, Barcelona enjoyed a great start before the new season kicked off. They beat the Bundesliga unit VfB Stuttgart easily and it seems that the boys of Ronald Koeman are eager enough to do something better in the upcoming season.

Following several days of pre-season workouts in Germany, Barca tested themselves at the Mercedes-Benz Arena and they put on a show, scoring three times and creating several other chances.

There wasn’t much goalmouth action at either end at the beginning of the game, though, with the most interesting moment of the opening 20 minutes a half-hearted and quickly dismissed Memphis Depay penalty shout.

But,  Depay didn’t need a spot-kick.

In the 21st minute, Barcelona took the lead when Memphis latched on to a perfect chip over the Stuttgart defence from Frenkie de Jong.

The Dutchman controlled perfectly, dinked the ball over a defender, and smashed it past Fabian Bredlow in the German side’s goal.

The new arrival then helped set up a goal in the 36th minute, with Memphis flicking the ball into – a probably offside –Antoine  Griezmann’s perfectly timed charge into the box and with the Frenchman crossing for Yusuf Demir to knock into the back of the net.

That gave Barcelona a 2-0 halftime lead. That and Gavi’s excellent intervention to cut out the final pass of a Stuttgart counterattack just before the break.

The start to the second half was slower, but Barcelona upped the ante again once Ronald Koeman made some personnel changes. In the final 20 minutes, Riqui Puig was very lively as he first provoked a couple of saves before slotting a lovely Griezmann pass in off the post for Barcelona’s third.

It could even have been four, only for Bredlow to make an excellent save after Miralem Pjanic played pre-season star Rey Manaj through on goal.

It finished 3-0, then, to Barcelona and that makes it three wins from three so far in their summer friendlies. More important than the result is the sense that Memphis and Griezmann can play together. If the Frenchman ends up staying at Camp Nou, they could form quite a partnership.

“People know about Memphis because he was at Manchester United and Lyon,” Koeman said of his countryman.

“Today, he showed he can score as he scored the first with an individual piece of play.”

“With his play, speed and strength, he gives other things to the team.”

“His partnership with Antoine Griezmann was very good.”

“We have players who can play in different positions in attack.”

“We’ll also have Sergio Aguero. I hope Leo [Messi] returns too. So, we have quality upfront.”

The Dutchman also analyzed the match in more general terms, speaking about the minutes given to some of the squad’s fringe players.

“I’m really very happy about the performance as I think we did well against a team who had done more work in pre-season because they started sooner than we started,” he said.

“I think we played well and had good ball possession. We scored two great goals in the first half and, in the second, we controlled the game and had even more chances to score more goals.”


“We gave minutes and game time to several players and, overall, it was the standard that we like to show.”

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