The Scottish club lost its American star, DaMarcus Beasley, who was injured in a violent collision early in the second half, and its manager, Walter Smith, conceded after the game that at the very least it would be without Beasley for the deciding match against French club Lyon on Dec. 12 in Glasgow. Pending results of a scan, Beasley himself feared a lengthy layoff with ligament damage.
Rangers led Stuttgart early in the Group E game filled with end-to-end action at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium, but Stuttgart eventually won for its first points of the competition on Romanian Ciprian Marica's goal with six minutes remaining in the game.
Lyon's 2-2 tie with Barcelona meant that the Catalan club had clinched one of the two berths in the second stage. It also left Rangers and Lyon tied with seven points after five games. Rangers will advance with either a win or tie at Ibrox. It upset Lyon, 3-0, in France earlier in the fall.
Rangers had taken the lead on a goal by Charlie Adam with his first touch of the ball after replacing the injured Lee McCulloch, but Smith conceded Beasley's injury was more serious.
Beasley collided with Stuttgart goalie Rafael Schafer and was stretchered off in the 47th minute. He had his knee in a brace and faced a potentially long layoff with a suspected knee ligament injury.
"Beasley's injury looks like a serious one although we aren't certain exactly what it is yet," Smith said. "Lee McCulloch has a knock which isn't quite as bad."
Nov. 27 in Stuttgart
VfB Stuttgart 3 Rangers 2. Goals: Cacau 45+2, Pardo 62, Marica 85; Adam 27, Ferguson 70.
VfB Stuttgart -- Schafer, Beck, Fernando Meira, Delpierre, Magnin, Hilbert (Ewerthon, 82), Pardo, Khedira (da Silva, 46), Hitzlsperger, Marica, Cacau (Tasci, 86).
Rangers -- McGregor, Hutton, Weir, Cuellar, Papac, Hemdani, Beasley (Naismith, 47), Ferguson, Thomson, McCulloch (Adam, 26), Darcheville (Cousin, 81).
Referee: Darko Ceferin (Slovenia).