Gross admits Stuttgart shortcomings
Stuttgart coach Christian Gross conceded his side are not good enough to compete with Europe's best following their 4-0 defeat to Barcelona.
A 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League tie had fuelled the belief that Stuttgart could cause an upset at the Nou Camp, but they were left disappointed as the holders tore them apart with Lionel Messi scoring twice.
"They showed us our limitations," said Gross.
"Barca made things tight and they were a cut above. Until 3-0, I still had a bit of hope, but then everything was decided.
"Barcelona were clearly better and Messi was the decisive man."
The Swiss coach hinted his side had performed above their normal level in the first leg to give the false impression they were actually competitive enough for this stage of the tournament.
"In the first leg, we played a fantastic game for our conditions," he added. "But now we could not get down the wings and had no shots."
The club's director of sport Horst Heldt admitted that his side had "no chance, the way we played in the first half".
"That was disappointing," he added.
Stuttgart will now focus their attention on qualifying for Europe again next season, although achieving a place in the Champions League is extremely unlikely.
They currently trail third-placed Bayer Leverkusen by 18 points with just eight games of the season remaining, although they are just eight adrift of the top five, which would be good enough for a place in the Europa League.