Monday, May 20, 2019

Prediction: Rangers vs Maribor

Verdict: Rangers to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 15/8

Bookmaker: bet365

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will play host to Maribor in Glasgow for the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday. The Gers will be hoping to extend their strong start in the competition against the Slovenians at their Ibrox Stadium.

Rangers

Rangers continue their Europa League path against Slovenia mammoth side Maribor. Gerrard and his men will be keen to continue with strong performances in the competition, having already dispatched Shkupi 2-0 and Osijek 2-1 in the previous rounds.

Former Scottish giants have gone through quite a lot over the past couple of seasons but now have a proper chance of getting their name back on the football map in style. The appointment of the Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has been met with criticism but has also brought a newfound hope for the Rangers fans. With Rangers standing just one round and two legs away from the Europa League group stage, the excitement builds. Rangers have yet to lose a single game since April and will surely be looking to extend a positive start under Steven Gerrard. A 1-1 draw at Aberdeen might have come as a disappointment knowing that Rangers conceded an injury-time leveller but it still serves as a clear sign of improvement under the new boss. This will be the fifth time Rangers are locking horns with Slovenian side. The Scottish club won two, drew and lost one apiece.

Team News

Rangers will be without midfielder Ryan Jack who suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Aberdeen. Jon Flannagan is serving a yellow card ban whereas Jordan Rossiter is suffering from an ankle injury.  

Graham Dorrans and Lee Wallace will have their fitness tested once more ahead of the game but are both expected to miss out.

Maribor

Slovenian superpower Maribor warmed up for the trip to Glasgow with an empathic 5-2 victory over Aluminij which saw them move to the top of Slovenia Prva Liga. The Purples have collected 7 points after three matches and lead the pack in front of their last weekend’s opponents.

Such a compelling victory will have been a huge morale boost for Darko Milanic’s side which has yet to lose any of their last 17 matches. This impressive run stretches until May 2018 and will be put under a tough test at Ibrox this Thursday. Maribor boss Milicic studied the Scottish side and is well aware of what to expect in Glasgow. The Purples are an experienced team which took part in the Champions League group stage last season and will definitely be the toughest test yet for Gerrard’s team. Nine wins out of last ten matches away from home should arrive as a red flag for Rangers even though a trip to Ibrox is hardly comparable with any of the last ten trips Maribor had.

Team News

Visitors will have no selection worries ahead of the Thursday match.

The club’s latest signing Denis Klinar made his debut last weekend against Aluminij and should be given another opportunity to shine at a higher level this week.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Rangers and Maribor have already met four times since 2001
  • The Gers are unbeaten since April 2018
  • Maribor have yet to lose any of their last 17 matches
  • Gerrard’s men won five of last 6 home matches
  • Maribor kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 7 games

Conclusion

Maribor are definitely the biggest test Rangers have faced in Europa League this season but we feel there is more than enough about Steven Gerrard’s charges to record a win at Ibrox and continue their strong start to the season. The Slovenian superpower side boast plenty of international experience but we don’t think it will help them in Glasgow.

Verdict: Rangers to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 15/8

Bookmaker: bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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