Belligerent Balakov blows a fuse

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VFB Stuttgart's preparations for the European Cup-Winners' Cup final against Chelsea in Stockholm tomorrow have been overshadowed by an incident involving their Bulgarian international, Krassimir Balakov.

The midfielder reportedly lost his temper on the flight to Stockholm yesterday and attacked a journalist because of a pre-match article he had written.

Passengers looked on in amazement as Balakov allegedly slapped the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper reporter across the face. Ulrich Schafer, a Stuttgart director, separated the pair and apologised to the media after the plane landed.