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Rangers out to compound hosts' woes

VfB Stuttgart have only pride to play for against a Rangers FC side determined to strengthen their prospects of a place in the first knockout round.

Rangers FC visit struggling VfB Stuttgart determined to make amends for their defeat at FC Barcelona last time out and strengthen their prospects of a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

• Despite losing in Spain, Walter Smith's team lie second in Group E, a point clear of Olympique Lyonnais, and would even secure their passage to the last 16 should they beat Stuttgart and Lyon lose their home match against section leaders Barcelona. While the visitors have plenty of incentive to do well, Stuttgart will be playing for pride alone after a fourth successive loss at Lyon on Matchday 4 consigned them to bottom place.

• Stuttgart's run of defeats, which constitutes their worst sequence in UEFA club competition, stretched to four after they went down 4-2 at Lyon. Mario Gómez gave them a glimmer of hope twice at the Stade de Gerland, scoring to narrow the deficit to 2-1 and then 3-2. However, Juninho Pernambucano's injury-time strike confirmed the three points for Lyon, for whom Hatem Ben Arfa (2) and Kim Källström had earlier found the net.

• The German champions opened their campaign with a 2-1 loss at Rangers, where Gómez's 56th-minute opener was overturned by goals from Charlie Adam (62) and Jean-Claude Darcheville (75), the latter a penalty. Stuttgart then went down 2-0 at home to Barcelona on Matchday 2 and the outlook got even gloomier when Lyon won by an identical score at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion on 23 October.

• After defeating Stuttgart on 19 September, Rangers built on that win with a 3-0 triumph at Lyon – Lee McCulloch, Daniel Cousin and DaMarcus Beasley the scorers – and a goalless home draw with Barcelona. However, they suffered their first reverse in Group E at Camp Nou on 7 November, first-half goals from Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi inflicting a 2-0 defeat.

• History repeated itself when Rangers beat Stuttgart on Matchday 1, for they also came from behind to record a 2-1 win against the Bundesliga team at Ibrox on the opening night of the 2003/04 group stage campaign.

• Rangers will hope the déjà vu ends there for Stuttgart subsequently won the return match on 26 November 2003 thanks to a Timo Wenzel effort. Unlike this season Stuttgart advanced to the last 16 in second place, with Rangers finishing bottom.

• The teams that night were:
Stuttgart: Timo Hildebrand, Andreas Hinkel, Fernando Meira, Timo Wenzel, Philipp Lahm, Silvio Meissner, Zvonimir Soldo, Horst Heldt, Aleksandr Hleb, Imre Szabics, Kevin Kuranyi.
Rangers: Stefan Klos, Maurice Ross, Henning Berg, Zurab Khizanishvili, Michael Ball, Stephen Hughes, Paolo Vanoli, Capucho, Fernando Ricksen, Shota Arveladze, Peter Løvenkrands.

• Rangers' victory in Lyon on Matchday 2 was their first on the road in the UEFA Champions League since 2000/01.

• Stuttgart may have lost on all four previous visits to Scotland in UEFA club competition but they are unbeaten at home to Scottish sides, winning all three games.

• They defeated Heart of Midlothian FC 1-0 at home in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup first round, eventually prevailing on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw. In the fourth round of the same competition in 2002/03 they came from two goals down to beat Celtic 3-2 at home, but succumbed 5-4 on aggregate after an earlier defeat in Glasgow.

• The Bundesliga outfit also recorded a goalless home draw with Dunfermline Athletic FC in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1964.

• Rangers have lost on their last four visits to Germany and their record overall in that country reads: P19 W3 D7 L9. It was also on German soil that Rangers lost 1-0 to FC Bayern München in the final of the 1966/67 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.