15 July 2012
Grazi Stadion, Stuttgart
STUTTGART KICKERS 1
STUTTGART Kickers prevented Celtic from recording their first pre-season win of the summer after they beat Neil Lennon´s side 1-0 in the Grazi Stadion.
The home team made the breakthrough, from an Omar Jatta header, shortly before the break and despite some good progress from Tuesday evening´s draw, Celtic couldn´t find an equaliser.
The Hoops had made seven changes from the midweek Augsburg game, with Scott Brown, Thomas Rogne, Kris Commons and Lukasz Zaluska making their first appearances since returning to fitness.
Celtic looked positive from the start and made good runs into Stuttgart Kickers´ final third. Daryl Murphy sent the ball to his striker partner, Gary Hooper, inside just two minutes, but the Englishman was blocked before he could make anything of it.
Rogne then saw his header come off the outside of the post after he´d found Commons´ corner at the far post. It was unlucky for the defender but it showed Celtic were keen to make an early breakthrough.
Commons was looking particularly active in front of a midfield diamond, and if he hadn’t slipped in the 23rd minute, as he unleashed an effort, his attempt to chip Daniel Wagner in goals would have been a thing of beauty.
Mahir Savranlioglu brought the home side back into it just before the half hour mark when he had a low drive on target, but Zaluska dealt with it easily.
Brown and Filip Twardzik were linking up well in midfield and showing good footwork, and the Czech teenager had an ambitious effort shortly before the break but it went wide of the far post.
Stuttgart Kickers, however, found the opener just before the break to give them the advantage in what had been an evenly balanced match. Fabio Leutenecker sent the ball across the penalty area to Jatta who headed it into the far corner and the home side went into half-time in the lead.
In response to that goal Celtic made three changes during the break, with James Forrest, Kelvin Wilson and Beram Kayal being introduced to proceedings. Forrest in particular looked impressive with a good turn and run down the flank almost immediately after the restart.
But the home side were also threatening at the opposite end and on 57 minutes they had a string of good passes which almost led to another goal. Their captain, Enzo Marchese, however, put the ball high and wide of the target, wasting a good opportunity.
Zaluska was brought into action towards the end of the second-half when substitutes, Kevin Dicklhuber, Sandrino Braun and Marcos Alvarez, threatened Celtic´s goal. But each time the Polish keeper narrowed the angle and minimised Stuttgart Kickers´ attack.
Dicklhuber slid the ball past the far post and Alvarez hit the side netting, but it was Braun who came closest when he cracked it off the bar.
Celtic tried to find a late equaliser but it wasn’t to come against the German side. Their next challenge will come on Tuesday, July 17, when they face VFR Aalen.
STUTTGART KICKERS (4-5-1): Wagner; Evers, Auracher, Leist, Stadler; Leutenecker, Marchese, Jatta, Gondorf, Savranlioglu; Guttner
Subs: Krauss, Braun, Ivanusa, Sprung, Gerster, Dicklhuber, Fennell, Schmidt, Alvarez
CELTIC (3-4-1-2): Zaluska; Toshney (McGeouch 64), Rogne, Mulgrew (K. Wilson 46), Blackman (Kayal 46); McCourt (Watt 71); Brown, F. Twardzik; Commons (Ibrahim 76); Hooper (Forrest 46), Murphy
Subs not used: Forster
Website man of the match: Scott Brown