Rangers defence to be tested by on fire int'l striker with four goals in two games for Willem II
Photo by Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Rangers face tough task keeping on fire Vangelis Pavlidis quiet vs Willem II

Rangers face the difficult prospect of trying to keep on fire Willem II striker Vangelis Pavlidis quiet in their Europa League qualifier on Thursday evening.

The Gers had enjoyed an immaculate start to the season defensively, recording seven clean sheets in a row in the league as well as shutting out Lincoln Red Imps in their first European assignment.

Rangers recorded eight consecutive clean sheets prior to the draw at Hibernian. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

However, things fell apart somewhat at Easter Road at the weekend with instances of sloppiness at the back allowing Hibs to score twice and earn a point.

Steven Gerrard may keep faith in a back four of James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Filip Helander and Borna Barisic for the upcoming trip to the Netherlands, but the quartet will be seriously tested by their in-form hosts.

Willem II thrashed Rangers’ old foes Progres Niederkorn 5-0 in their first round qualifier before sweeping aside Heracles Almelo in similar fashion in the Eredivisie on Sunday.

Andrie Koster’s side triumphed 4-0 at the Koning Willem II Stadion and Vangelis Pavlidis was the destroyer in chief.

The Greek international performed well last season, scoring 13 goals from 25 appearances, but he looks to be stepping things up a level this campaign.

Rangers must be wary of Willem II danger man Vangelis Pavlidis. (Photo by Geert van Erven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Pavlidis scored twice against Progres before running the Heracles defence ragged at the weekend.

The 21-year-old opened the scoring for the hosts in the 46th minute, driving forward towards the left edge of the box before curling a fine effort into the far top corner, much to the delight of the limited crowd inside the ground.

He was at it again in the 86th minute, too, notching his second successive brace with a sharp finish at the back post after one touch to control with his chest.

Willem’s no.10 is a mobile centre-forward who’s currently full of confidence and will no doubt be looking forward to testing himself against the Gers.

How Goldson and co. can handle him will go a long way to determining whether or not Steven Gerrard’s side progress to the next round.

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