Champions League

Rangers, Stuttgart meet in must-win contest

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP)

With Rangers top of the Scottish league and Stuttgart in the Bundesliga relegation zone, Tuesday's Champions League meeting at Ibrox Park appears to point to a home victory. Both teams need a victory to stand any chance of reaching the last 16 of European football's most prestigious competition. Rangers comfortably beat Kilmarnock 3-0 on Saturday when Stuttgart managed only a 1-1 draw with last-placed Hertha Berlin in the German league. But Rangers' home form in Group G has been disastrous with 4-1 defeats to both Sevilla and Romanian champion Unirea, which are first and second in the standings. Stuttgart has drawn both its away games against the same opposition. Sevilla has already secured passage to the last 16 of the competition and will guarantee a top-place finish if it avoids defeat away to Unirea. A victory for the Romanians, however, would eliminate Rangers, even if the Scottish side beats Stuttgart. The German side, which has three points to Rangers' two, would still be able to catch Unirea if it beats the Scottish club. Stuttgart had to come from behind to capture a draw with Hertha at home on Saturday, Zdravko Kuzmanovic scoring an equalizer in the 82nd minute only to later be sent off for two yellow cards. Coach Markus Babbel used Cacau and Ciprian Marica in attack with Pavel Pogrebnyak on the bench and coming on for Aleksandr Hleb late in the game. "Maybe it works for us to play in Glasgow now," Babbel said. "We are playing away - the pressure is not so strong. And (Rangers) also has to win, they have to do something too. Perhaps that will suit us. "We know that we are meeting a good team with a lot of international experience. But I am also firmly convinced that we have the quality to win there." Rangers are unbeaten in the Scottish Premier League and Walter Smith's team did not concede for the first time in nine games in beating Kilmarnock. Smith left out Algeria midfielder Madjid Bougherra, who played in Algeria's 1-0 victory over Egypt on Wednesday and arrived back in Scotland later than expected. The victory clinched Algeria's place at the World Cup. Although Bougherra has been hampered by a knee injury, he should be fit to face Stuttgart but Smith is not happy with the Algerian after his late return from the World Cup game in neutral Sudan. "I'll probably speak to him today at some stage," Smith said. "It's obviously a concern but it's happened and we just have to handle it. We'll just get on with it. We are not the first club it's happened to and we won't be the last."

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