Stuttgart’s Markus Babbel is looking to outwit “an old tactical fox” as Walter Smith prepares his Rangers side for a fifth group-stage meeting with the German outfit.
The Scottish champions have been paired with Stuttgart in the German club’s two previous appearances at this stage, in 2003-04 and 2007-08.
“There are several players still here from two years ago; we learned from that experience and I’m sure we will do better this time,” said Babbel. “We’re prepared for opponents who will not be faint of heart and who will give it everything.
“I don’t know if they will play with one or two strikers – they haven’t told me – but I expect them to play a bit more defensively, to hit us fast on the break; they did very well like that two years ago. It’s a big challenge for me to outwit an old tactical fox like Walter Smith.
“What he has achieved so far makes him a role model for me. He has qualified for the Champions League over and over again and performs well with his team once he gets there.”
Babbel is definitely without the injured Ludovic Magnin and there are doubts over the fitness of on-loan midfielder Alenxander Hleb.
Smith, meanwhile, believes that that the game could follow a similar pattern to the last time these two sides met.
“I don’t think much has changed compared to two years ago,” he said. “We are stronger now, but we will have to wait and play the match. Last time we played here we lost 3-2 and it was one of our better away games that campaign.
“It was the season where we reached the UEFA Cup final in the end the match here was rather an open one. They fought hard, but they did not put that much pressure on us – we could launch our own attacks as well. I hope that will be the case tomorrow too, with a different result of course.”
Smith will be without Kyle Lafferty, Maurice Edu, Kirk Broadfoot and Andrew Little.