Stuttgart - Thomas Schneider will take charge of VfB Stuttgart for the first time on Thursday evening when his side face HNK Rijeka in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League play-off (kick-off 18.00 CET).

VfB trail 2-1 from the first leg, but Vedad Ibisevic’s 89th-minute goal in Croatia last week means all hope is not lost for die Schwaben.


Upon his unveiling as new head coach on Monday afternoon, Schneider described Stuttgart's home tie against Rijeka as “a chance to turn our season around”. VfB have had to endure a miserable start to their Bundesliga campaign as Sunday’s 2-1 reverse at FC Augsburg left them languishing at the foot of the table without a point from three games.

However, Schneider is confident his side can put their domestic woes behind them and advance to the next stage of the Europa League. “The team have good attacking power and I am certain the fans will get to see that on Thursday," he said. "The team will leave the fans in little doubt they are determined to qualify for the group stages of the competition.”

Organised opponents

Rijeka maintained their unbeaten league start with a 2-0 victory over Hrvatski Dragovoljac at the weekend and Schneider is expecting to face an organised opponent on Thursday. “We have to try and break through their lines by spreading the ball about quickly and keeping our tempo up without becoming disorganised ourselves,” he explained.

Schneider gave little away as regards his first VfB starting eleven, however. Georg Niedermeier and Serdar Tasci remain sidelined with ankle and knee injuries respectively. Antonio Rüdiger and Daniel Schwaab are likely to continue in central defence, while Christian Gentner will skipper the side in Tasci’s absence.

Possible line-ups:

Stuttgart: Ulreich - Sakai, Schwaab, Rüdiger, Rausch - Gentner, Boka - Werner, Leitner, Cacau - Ibisevic

Rijeka: Vargic - Tomacek, Leskovic, Maric, Skarabot - Zlomislic, Males, Kvrzic - Alispahic, Sharbini - Benko