Next Thursday, Rangers face a do or die Europa League encounter against Rapid Vienna.

It will be a daunting trip to the Austrian capital, where the home side have already held Villarreal to a draw and beaten Spartak Moscow 2-0.

Rapid held Villarreal to a 0-0 draw at home (Photo by Josef Bollwein/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

However, success in the Europa League has clearly come at a cost for Rapid. Their domestic form has dipped considerably, with the Green-Whites languishing in eight in the Austrian Bundesliga.

 

In fact, they have lost two of their last three in the league, and needed a 92nd minute winner from Veton Berisha to defeat FC Wacker Innsbruck (is there a better name in world football?) 1-0 last Sunday.

Rapid’s players looked relieved to sneak three points against Wacker Innsbruck last time out. (Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

This weekend they face a Sturm Graz side who sit three places better off in the league table. While the match is at Rapid’s Allianz Stadion, the visitors will arrive in confident mood, having kept clean sheets in each of their last three outings.

This represents a considerable test ahead of next week’s huge European showdown. Win, and they will be buoyed. Lose, and their confidence will take a hammering. While European progression is likely to be their number one priority, they can ill afford the ignominy of a sustained period in the league’s bottom half.

Rapid’s fans are sure to play a big role in Sunday’s league match as well as in the tie against Rangers. (Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

Rangers fans should keep an eye on this one on Sunday, as the result may determine the kind of beast the Gers face in a weeks time.