- The Scots, after giving the surprise by eliminating Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, face Red Star today (Movistar Champions League), another excited team that wants to be in the quarterfinals of the Europa League
Rangers and Estrella Roja will meet today (Movistar Champions League), in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16. The emblematic Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow will host an interesting duel between two teams that want to extend their dream in the second highest European club competition.
Rangers have won two of the previous three ties between these storied teams, but if the ‘Light Blues’ have been slightly better in recent matches in individual terms (W3 D2 D2), coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst – who has just given the surprise by eliminating Borussia Dortmund – knows better than to get complacent. “They finished top of the group so we know they will be a tough team,” he said of the Serbs. Meanwhile, Dejan Stanković thinks his team welcomes the chance to shine. “Europe is always magical for Red Star. No one can stop us from dreaming and looking forward.”
Rangers have reached the UEFA Cup/Europa League round of 16 for the ninth time. They only managed to get through on one of the previous eight occasions, eliminating Werder Bremen in 2007-08. They reached the final of the competition that year, where they lost to Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who has a high-quality squad, will be without the injured Hagi and Oforborh on this occasion, while Helander, Ramsey, Davis and Diallo are doubtful. The Scots are unbeaten at home to Red Star (W2 D1), but have not won in three matches in Belgrade (D1 D2).
For their part, the Balkans finished at the top of Group F adding a total of 11 points in the six games played. Thanks to this they were able to avoid the ‘play-offs’ and face these rounds of 16 of the Europa League in the best possible way. In fact, the Serbian team is in great form coming into this game after having posted six wins in a row.
However, Red Star have only won one of their previous six away games to Scottish opposition in European competition, and that victory came in November 1961 against Hibernian in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
The Red Star has reached the last 16 of a major European competition for the first time since 1996-97, in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, when they were eliminated by FC Barcelona. The last time they got past this stage of the UEFA Cup/Europa League was in 1978-79, reaching the final that year.
Rangers: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Barisic, Bassey, Jack, Kamara, Ayodele-Aribo, Morelos, Kent, and Sakala
Red Star: Borjan; Dragovic, Piccini, Pankov, Erakoivc, Katai, Srnic, Sanogo, Ivanic, Omoijuanfo, and Pavkov
Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük (Netherlands). VAR: Jochem Kamphuis (Netherlands)
Stadium: Ibrox Stadium
Time: 21:00 GMT+1