Smith wary of stuttering Stuttgart

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Rangers manager Walter Smith has refused to read too much into Stuttgart's uninspiring start to the season as both teams prepare to meet in the Champions League on Wednesday.

While the Scottish champions head into the Group G opener unbeaten and sitting top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, their German hosts' form has been less impressive. Defeat to Hamburg at the weekend saw their opponents move top of the Bundesliga, while they slipped to 11th, with just five points from their opening five matches.

But Smith said: "Stuttgart had a fantastic end to last season and they went on a great run of form to finish third in the Bundesliga. Any team can have a shaky start to a season and they are only five games into their league campaign."

He added: "I don't feel we have started the season that well ourselves, although we have managed not to lose a game."

Stuttgart's cause has not been aided by the fact Alexander Hleb is struggling with a muscle strain picked up at the weekend.

But Smith continued: "Stuttgart have quality throughout their squad. They will be able to cause us problems regardless of which players they have fit or not."

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Alexander Hleb
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