Rangers’ Europa League group sees them sitting pretty at the top and one point clear of Rapid Vienna.
After such a strong start, it’s clear to see that there will rarely be a better chance to qualify for the last 32. The Ibrox side have earned a huge draw in Villarreal as well as a big win at home to Rapid on match-day two. As it stands, Rangers are in pole-position.
That sixth game of the group in Vienna will no doubt seem miles away. Considering just how sensational qualifying for the last 32 would be, nerves will be at peak level the longer the groups go on.
Yet, it’s all lining up nicely for Steven Gerrard’s men these days, with so much now going in their favor.
What makes this a great chance?
Firstly, Moscow will be bringing just 1,001 fans to Ibrox next Thursday night. That’s less than the 5% capacity clubs are obliged to give visitors in European football. UEFA deem the match as a high-risk occasion, and therefore Rangers are allowed to sell less tickets. Instantly, that’s a massive boost to the club.
Moscow will be facing a sea of red, white, and blue when they pitch up at Ibrox. It’s a great chance for the supporters to really blow another European side away and put Rangers in the ascendancy to qualify.
Outside of that, Rangers know they can go to Austria and get a result. Rapid were nothing special last Thursday night, and are vulnerable at the back. It will require a tough shift as always in Europe, but Rangers can get a result over there.
Meanwhile, Villarreal certainly haven’t picked up. The La Liga side have won just one of their last five games since drawing with Rangers last month. They continue to ship goals all over the place, and the raucous noise-levels inside Ibrox could see them cave in.
To sum it up, everyone in this group has their weaknesses. Rangers do too, but the main thing is that nobody expected Rangers to make a fist of it in the group stages. Instead, Gerrard’s men may find themselves going through if they keep their momentum up.
One thing’s for sure – they won’t have a better chance