FC Midtjylland vs RangersUEFA Europa League, KO: 19:00 Aug 8, 2019, MCH Arena
RANGERS continue their slog to reach the Europa League group stages on Thursday night in Scandinavia when they face FC Midtjylland.
The Danish Superliga side will represent Rangers toughest test to date and the bookies appear to agree with Midtjylland 8/5 (BetVictor) favourites to win on the night and take a first leg lead to Glasgow next week.
Midtjylland are making their entrance to the Europa League at the third-round qualifying stage and they are doing so off the back of a brilliant start to their domestic campaign.
After beating Brondby in the Danish Cup final Kenneth Andersen's side have won their opening four league games and sit second in the league behind FC Copenhagen on goal difference.
Furthermore, The Wolves have only been tamed once on their own turf in their last six Europa League outings.
Rangers on the other hand have enjoyed a smooth route through to the third round qualifiers having seen off St Joseph's and old foes Progres Niederkorn.
In doing so the Ibrox side have bagged four clean-sheets and scored 12 goals to date, but they failed to hit the target last Thursday night after playing out a lacklustre stalemate in Luxembourg.
However, the Bears will be buoyant ahead of their trip to Denmark following a dramatic opening day Scottish Premiership victory against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday.
All of the goals in Ayrshire came via set-pieces and that is something that Steven Gerrard eluded to in the lead up to this encounter
The Rangers boss was naturally pleased to see his side score from two set-plays and carrying such a threat could prove to be an extra weapon in Rangers armoury this season.
However, the Liverpool legend was left frustrated at Killie catching Rangers out from a free kick on Sunday and they will have to be wary of a repeat of that on Thursday night.
The Danish sides prowess from set-pieces has been well documented ahead of this fixture – so much so that Gerard has stated that setting up his side to defend their own box resolutely is his priority.
Both sides carry a threat from set-pieces and that could point towards profit in backing A Header to be Scored at 29/20 (William Hill)
What's more goals have been coming from all over the park from the Glasgow giants and an away goal could prove to be invaluable over the course of this two-legged affair.
The Danes on the other hand have not been scoring as freely as their Scottish opponents despite making an almost flawless start to their Superliga season.
Midtjylland have won all of their league fixtures by one goal and Brazilian playmaker Evander has scored in their last three successes.
The 21 year old, formerly of Vasco da Gama, has been tipped for the top and looks overpriced to continue his fine start to the season by scoring anytime at 4/1 (PaddyPower)
Whether or not Evander strikes remains to be seen but Midtjylland will firmly believe they can find the back of the net on Thursday night having remarkably done so in their last 25 competitive matches.
However, the Danish outfit are coming up against a Rangers side who have scored 25 times in their 10 pre-season and competitive fixtures since the start of June.
Therefore, all things considered I would expect a closely fought encounter in the MCH arena and I suspect that Steven Gerrard would be satisfied if his Gers could get back to Govan on level terms.
Yet, opting for the Ibrox side to avoid defeat in Denmark does not appeal to me after two unconvincing performances against Progres Niederkorn and Kilmarnock respectively.
This UEFA Europa League match between FC Midtjylland and Rangers will be played on Aug 8, 2019 and kick off at 19:00