Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes is hoping some inside knowledge from his best friend will help his side to overcome Stuttgart in their Champions League Group G curtain-raiser on Wednesday.
Mendes, 30, is preparing for his first Champions League appearance since lifting the trophy with a Jose Mourinho-inspired Porto side in 2004, and the midfielder has turned to fellow Portugal international and long time pal Fernando Meira, who spent six seasons with Stuttgart, for inside information on the German outfit.
"Fernando is my best friend so I have been in touch with him to find out what they are all about," Mendes told his club's official website. "We know that they are a strong side and he has told me the players to look out for.
"They have lost Mario Gomez, who was an important striker for them but they are still a strong outfit so we know it will be a tough match for us.''
Mendes and Meira came through the ranks together at Vitoria Guimaraes and have remained close, with Meira playing against Rangers two seasons ago in the Champions League group phase, before Mendes joined the club.
The Light Blues dropped their first Clydesdale Bank Premier League points of the seasonon Saturday when they were held to a goalless draw at Motherwell., but Mendesis fully focused on a return to Champions League action.
"It will be a different game in Stuttgart. We have to get our heads up after the disappointment of the Motherwell match and I'm sure we will, Mendes said. "It's going to be a completely different environment and for me it will be great to be back in the Champions league.''