Rangers vs Progres NiederkornUEFA Europa League, KO: 19:45 Jul 25, 2019, Ibrox
RANGERS continue their quest to reach the Europa League group stages on Thursday night when they come up against familiar foes in the shape of Progres Niederkorn.
The Luxembourg minnows stunned the Scottish giants two years ago in the first qualifying round by progressing 2-1 on aggregate in what proved to be the beginning of the end for then Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha.
However, the Ibrox side are a different animal nowadays under the stewardship of Steven Gerrard and that is reflected in the 1/16 (Bet 365) on offer for Rangers to make home advantage count in this two-legged tie.
Niederkorn narrowly lost 1-0 in Govan two years ago but if you fancy them to inflict further woe on the Gers then the away win is a soaring 60/1 (Ladbrokes) and even the draw is deemed unlikely at 12/1 (Ladbrokes) with the same firm.
Despite losing six of their last eight Europa League games Roland Vrabec's side recently won 2-0 away from home against Cork City to set up a second trip to Scotland in as many years.
Yet, the visitors only just came through their clash with Cork after losing the home leg 2-1 and prior to that in the preliminary round Progres had to rely on an away goal to battle past part-timers Cardiff MU.
Rangers on the other hand have been banging in the goals during pre-season with both Oxford and Marseille comprehensively disposed of during recent trips to Glasgow.
The Bears have also carried their brilliant close season form into their first competitive fixtures of the season after sweeping aside St Joseph's 10-0 on aggregate.
I covered both respective fixtures against the Gibrlatarians and successfully tipped a number of nicely priced winners, but this fixture poses similar problems in that punters will have to be shrewd in trying to generate profit from this encounter.
Gerrard's Gers came flying out of the traps in front of a big home crowd last Thursday night and were ahead after three minutes when Joe Aribo grabbed his his first goal for Rangers and I'm expecting another quick start from the Scottish side in this second round qualifier.
It has been raining goals for Rangers recently and with the domestic season set to get underway next weekend Gerrard will know that a comfortable home win here would afford him the luxury of rotating his squad in next weeks return leg which falls jut three days before a trip to Rugby Park.
Therefore, Rangers will be hoping to all but book a place in the third round on Thursday night and with that in mind one option I like the look of is backing Rangers to be leading after 30 minutes at 3/4 (Ladbrokes)
Furthermore, Rangers should be back to full strength after Gerrard rung the changes last Thursday, but regardless of who starts value for Rangers goalscorers is restricted with the likes of Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe as short as 4/11 (Ladbrokes) to score anytime.
However, an alternative anytime goalscorer to consider may be to opt for Rangers skipper James Tavernier.
On a night where Neiderkorn will look to sit back and contain the Scottish giants Rangers could find success from set pieces and with Tavernier on penalty duty as well as being capable of the spectacular from free-kicks then the 6/4 (William Hill) on offer for the Rangers captain to score anytime appeals.
On the subject of set plays another angle to contemplate is backing a Header to be Scored at 5/4 (William Hill)
Rangers should have corners and free-kicks aplenty on Thursday night, not too mention the fact that goals have been coming from all over the park in recent weeks.
What's more Progres conceded an aerial goal to inferior opposition last week and a header was scored at Ibrox last Thursday night but either way expect Rangers to be ready for revenge.
This UEFA Europa League match between Rangers and Progres Niederkorn will be played on Jul 25, 2019 and kick off at 19:45