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Veh demands final flurry from Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart coach Armin Veh has called on his side to "show the real VfB" when they take on a Rangers FC team closing in on a place in the knockout rounds.

Their European campaign may effectively be over but VfB Stuttgart coach Armin Veh is determined that his resurgent team "show the real VfB" against a Rangers FC side whose hopes of finishing in the top two in Group E are still burning bright.

With Mercedes, Porsche and Bosch all based in Stuttgart, words like 'efficiency' and 'performance' are at the heart of the city's lexicon, yet during a torrid start to the season their football team displayed little of either. Things have improved markedly in recent weeks, however, and a run of four wins from four Bundesliga outings has revived a title defence that had almost flatlined a month ago. The turnaround may have come too late to salvage his still point-less side's UEFA Champions League aspirations but that has not numbed Veh's hunger. Of the Rangers game, he said: "We are obliged to win for ourselves, our fans and our group rivals Lyon.

Patriotic duty
"We will try everything to win and to collect points for our country: victory is important to me as a patriot," continued the 46-year-old, who will again be without the injured Yıldıray Baştürk although Serdar Tasci is available after recovering from a knee problem. "My team will be motivated. It is, after all, a Champions League match and the stadium is sold out. We have to put on a show. I am really annoyed we were so poor at the start of the campaign. Now we will show the real VfB." There have been glimpses of the above during the last month of Bundesliga action – witness Saturday's fourth successive victory, 4-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt, yet that came at a cost as Mario Gómez was forced off with a rib injury that leaves him doubtful for Tuesday.

Smith foresight
Gómez would be a big loss. The 22-year-old Germany striker has scored ten of Stuttgart's 23 goals in the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League this term, including one in Glasgow on Matchday 1 as the Scottish club were forced to come from behind to earn a 2-1 win. "They showed at Ibrox that they are a very determined team," Rangers manager Walter Smith said. "I said after that game that they are German champions and will get back to last season's form at some point – I think that now they have."

Possible qualification
Smith's own charges are not yet in top gear, despite beating Falkirk FC 3-1 at the weekend. They seem to save their best for the UEFA Champions League, however, and victories over Stuttgart and Lyon, as well as a home draw with FC Barcelona, means they control their own destiny. Indeed, a success at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion would take Rangers through if third-placed Lyon lost Tuesday's other Group E fixture – more than surpassing pre-season expectations for Smith.

'Transforming team'
"We're a transforming team so it would be a terrific performance by us if we managed to get through," said the manager, who welcomes Kevin Thomson back from suspension. "I'm expecting a tough game but we'll set out to do what we have in other matches." Stuttgart hope that they can do the reverse.