17:34 6th August 2016
Final pre-season friendly ends in narrow defeat...
HAMBURGER SV 1 (Gregoritsch 55)
STOKE CITY 0
A POACHER'S GOAL from Michael Gregoritsch inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Stoke City in the final friendly of pre-season against Hamburger SV.
The Austrian striker reacted quickest to steer the ball home from close range ten minutes after the restart when a tame shot from the edge of the box found its way into his path.
Hamburger had a second goal disallowed when a clearly offside Nabil Bahoui prodded home after Jack Butland had expertly saved from Luca Waldschmidt.
The hosts also hit an upright when Alen Halilovic beat Butland with a curled shot towards the far post as the sun shone down on the 23,447 spectators in the impressive Volksparkstadion.
At the other end, Mame Diouf was denied by Rene Adler when put through one-on-one whilst Giannelli Imbula also saw a long range strike thwarted by the German goalkeeper.
Ryan Shawcross later headed narrowly over after decent interplay from Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan with Peter Crouch doing likewise in the second half after his late introduction.
A Sample Of Sobhi
Ramadam Sobhi enjoyed just over an hour of action in a Stoke City shirt despite having only two training sessions with his new team-mates.
The Egypt international demonstrated a good touch and was more than comfortable on the ball, showing flashes of his clear potential throughout.
A highlight was his run infield from the right wing in which he bypassed three defenders before seeing his pinpoint cross to Mame Diouf intercepted by a defender.
Xherdan Shaqiri's failure to return to the field for the second half will hopefully be nothing more than a precaution with only seven days remaining until the start of the season.
The Swiss maestro, who netted twice in the Potters' win over Orlando City B, was a big problem for Hamburger SV in the first 45 minutes before receiving a rough looking challenge moments before the break.
Mark Hughes will be hoping that both Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic - who remained in England with a slight knock of his own - will both be fit to start at the Riverside Stadium.
Staking A Claim
Hughes reverted back to a 4-2-3-1 starting line-up in Hamburg having opted for three at the back in all of the previous four pre-season friendlies.
The familiarity also saw Glenn Whelan and Giannelli Imbula start in the middle for the first time since May and it'll be interesting to see if the Welshman keeps faith in the duo or opts to include new recruit Joe Allen instead.
Mame Diouf will be hoping his name will be on the teamsheet too having done well in pre-season but his position on the pitch could depend on Shaqiri and Arnautovic's availability.
With both Glen Johnson and Phil Bardsley absent, Geoff Cameron deputised at right back so that looks to be another position up for grabs before the curtain raises.
HAMBURGER: Adler (Hirzel 46); Sakai, Jung, Cleber (Oschkenat 90), Ostrzolek; Ekdal (Diekmeier 46), Hunt (Porath 63); Muller (Halilovic 63), Kostic (Bahoui 46 (Schipplock 82), Wood (Lasogga 45); Gregoritsh (Waldschmit 63). Sub: Jatta.
STOKE CITY: Butland; Cameron (Muniesa 69), Shawcross (c), Wollscheid, Pieters; Whelan, Imbula (Adam 63); Shaqiri (Joselu 46), Bojan (Crouch 80), Sobhi (Allen 63); Diouf (N’Goy 87). Subs: Given, Haugaard, Taylor.