Rangers FC got off to a perfect start in Group E as they came from behind to secure an impressive 2-1 victory against German champions VfB Stuttgart.
The home team looked to have weathered the early storm after struggling early on but fell behind eleven minutes after the restart when Mario Gómez broke the deadlock. Rangers were soon on level terms as Charlie Adam equalised following a driving Alan Hutton run, and the right-back was again the provider 15 minutes from time, winning a penalty which Jean-Claude Darcheville swept in to earn a valuable success.
If that left the majority of the capacity crowd celebrating, they had begun in joyous mood too following the news that captain Barry Ferguson had passed a fitness test. Yet the visitors settled first and Carlos Cuéllar had to be alert to cut out Roberto Hilbert's right-wing cross with Gómez lurking. Moments later Cacau cut in from the opposite flank before unleashing an attempt that rose over Allan McGregor's crossbar. It was all Stuttgart and their attackers combined again on eight minutes, Cacau springing the offside trap to send Gómez through, but he pulled his shot wide.
Having been pegged back in the opening exchanges, Rangers threatened for the first time when Steven Whittaker headed over before Serdar Tasci almost provided the Scottish side with the opening goal. The young Stuttgart centre-back was short with a back-pass but fortunately for him, goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer read the danger and raced off his line to block Kevin Thomson's shot. Rangers went close again on the half-hour, Ferguson's glancing header from Adam's free-kick drifting just wide, and two minutes later lone striker Darcheville nearly broke the deadlock. The former FC Girondins de Bordeaux forward used his strength to turn away from Tasci on the halfway line and his acceleration took him through before Schäfer smothered his effort.
At the other end, Cacau tried his luck with an acrobatic overhead kick as Stuttgart finished the first half in the ascendancy. The second period started in similar vein as Rangers invited pressure from the Bundesliga outfit while looking to hit on the counterattack. It was a dangerous strategy and Stuttgart made them pay on 56 minutes. With Ferguson off the pitch receiving treatment on a head wound, Sami Khedira swung in a cross from the left which Gómez flicked in from close range with his outstretched right boot.
The Glasgow club responded immediately. The impressive Hutton fired wide and the full-back also played a part in the equaliser just past the hour. Hutton drove to the edge of the area before picking out Adam on the left; the midfielder stepped inside Ricardo Osorio before curling a right-footed strike into the net. The tide was now in Rangers' favour. On 72 minutes Whittaker screwed wide with the goal at his mercy. His blushes were saved three minutes later when Hutton was brought down by Fernando Meira and Darcheville converted the spot-kick.