German club VfB Stuttgart held reigning European champions Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Tuesday night.

The Round of 16 match was a hard-fought encounter in which the Germans gave their Spanish counterparts few chances but were unable to complete what could have been a famous victory.

Fresh from a four-goal haul against FC Cologne on the weekend, Brazilian striker Cacau opened the scoring when he powered home a header in the 25th minute to give Stuttgart a priceless lead.

But the class of Barcelona began to shine through at stages and it took a 52nd minute effort from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to level the scores. Despite pressure from goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, the Swede managed to slot home but required two cracks at it.

It sets up a tantalising second leg to be played on March 17 at Barca's Nou Camp, where the Spaniards will surely go in as favourites.