Smith expects Werder to mount strong comeback

The Rangers manager, Walter Smith, has emphasised the importance of scoring an away goal tonight as the Scottish side's hosts, Werder Bremen, attempt to make up for their 2-0 defeat in Glasgow last week.

Smith believes the game at the Weserstadion will be "one of the toughest matches" of the season, despite the fact that Rangers are unbeaten in 20 games and Bremen lost 6-3 at Stuttgart last weekend.

"I don't think we are in a commanding position," Smith said. "We won the first leg 2-0 at home and Bremen will think they can do the same on their home ground." But, he added: "It is an advantage for us, especially if we can manage to get a goal."

Smith has no doubts that Bremen, who have a history of staging stunning comebacks in Europe, will come out looking for goals from the first whistle.

"At Ibrox they attacked at every opportunity. They have a reputation of being a tough home team. We know we are in for a very tough evening defensively," Smith said. "But for us to make the most out of the first-leg result we have to at least score one goal ourselves and I think that will be an important factor."

Smith believes keeping Bremen quiet in the early stages, or at least keeping them off the scoresheet, could be vital.

"There will be more chances for us the longer the game goes on," he said. "The longer the game goes and it stays 0-0, we'll have more opportunities to break away. But the main thing is to keep the score 0-0."

Smith will be without Daniel Cousin, who scored and fractured his jaw in the first leg. Cousin's fellow striker Jean-Claude Darcheville (Achilles) is also out, while Lee McCulloch (thigh), another candidate for a role up front, faces a fitness race. "Darcheville is not fit to play," Smith said. "He might make Sunday's CIS Cup final but we don't think he is quite ready for this game."

Rangers are in the running for four trophies this season but the Uefa Cup may present Bremen with their last chance of gaining some silverware. They are out of the German Cup and seven points behind the leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. Their Brazilian midfielder Diego and the striker Aaron Hunt were involved in a dressing-room fracas following the 2-0 defeat at Ibrox. Then came the defeat at Stuttgart.

Smith said: "I don't think the loss at Stuttgart was as clear-cut as the result suggests. We managed to see the game on television and Bremen did well early in the match. They were in that game for a long time."

The Rangers manager is well aware how much there will be at stake tonight. He said: "We know that the game tomorrow night will be one of the toughest we play all season. It is obviously a tough task."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam