We’re into the second qualifying round of UEFA’s two main football competitions. The Champions League first leg matches take place on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Europa League scheduled for Thursday. There’s bigger and better to come from these tournaments over the course of the year but, for now, these matches will be a treat for football fans who have struggled for an interest over the summer months. Here are our top Rangers v Progrès Niederkorn betting tips.
We previewed the best of the Champions League round and you can find our thoughts and predictions elsewhere on the football section of this site. There’s plenty of value to be found in the Europa League too, however, and our team aim to guide you towards profit. British football fans have an active interest, with teams from England, Scotland, Norther Ireland and Wales taking part.
A Closer Look at the Match
Rangers return to action on Thursday when hosting old rivals Progrès Niederkorn at Ibrox from 7.45pm. The Gers have painful memories of this opponent after they knocked Pedro Caixinha’s team of duds out of the running at the qualifying stage a couple of years ago. That rated as one of the biggest upsets in Europe that season and was one of the worst, if not the worst, in Rangers history. It made headlines around the continent and home fans are still not over it.
This may only be a qualifier but there will be close to a capacity crowd at the Govan venue with the locals out in force hoping to get their fair share of revenge. Steven Gerrard has made many changes since swapping Anfield for Govan and he’ll aim to show just how far his side have come on by beating Proges. If they can get the desired result, keep a clean-sheet and score a few goals in the process they will give themselves a great opportunity to get through.
Rangers progressed to this stage thanks to a 10-0 aggregate win over Gibraltar Premier League side St Joseph’s, a result that made a bit of a mockery of The Gers being involved at such an early stage. All Scottish teams, especially both halves of the Old Firm, believe they should be dropped in at a much latter phase of the European competitions and many fans believe there’s a case for both the Scottish Premiership winners and runners up to go into the Champions League. To have any chance of achieving that the national team and the likes of Aberdeen and Kilmarnock would have to do their bit for the coefficient.
Blues Fire a Warning with 10-0 Win
Rangers played here last week and eased their way to a 6-0 win over St Josephs. They took the lead inside three minutes thanks to an opening goal from new boy Joe Aribo who was making his competitive debut at Ibrox. It couldn’t have been a better start for the players or his employers. It took until the 45th minute to double their score, Alfredo Morelos netting the first of what was to become a hat-trick that night. Former England striker Jermain Defoe secured a brace when coming off the bench to make an instant impact.
Fans would love to see a similar effort on Thursday and the players will come on for the performance, 180 minutes under their belts helping improve fitness. The challenges will get tougher, but the Rangers performances should improve as Gerrard works out which players he can rely on, those who deserve a starting slot and the squad becomes fitter and stronger. They must improve on a weekend draw with Blackburn, however, the pair fighting out a 1-1 finish in a friendly. Defoe scored first but a lapse in concentration at the back allowed Blackburn to equalise. The game then fell flat, the paying public not impressed by what they saw.
It was a surprise to see the players take their foot off the gas there, especially with competition for places so fierce at the moment and many looking to force their way into contention for a start on Thursday but it could also serve as a wake up call to those who had it so good in pre-season, the team scoring lots of goals and keeping clean sheets. Gerrard will demand a response against Progres and bookmakers expect that he’ll get it.
Blues are Red Hot Favourites
The locals are red hot favourites with the match betting prices sure to force backers into a bet on the specials. Those looking to back a home win will have to make do with the 1/12 currently being offered out by Bet365. That’s too short, even for accumulators, so what’s the options? With the home side eager to get an advantage and gain a bit of revenge you can back them on the handicap. Rangers -2 is even money and that’s sure to be popular, there’s also 1/2 on Rangers half time/full time, which looks a decent shout.
Looking through the goal scorer bets and picking the first or anytime scorers appears to be where the real money lies. Alfredo Morelos scored four goals in two games against St Josephs and arrives in form. He is favourite to break the deadlock and those getting their cash on Jermaine Defoe to add to his tally anytime will surely get a run for their money.
Fancy the upset? Progrès Niederkorn have done it before, could they do it again? Traders at Bet365 don’t believe so and are offering a chunky 16/1 on the away win or 8/1 for the underdogs to qualify after two legs. The draw on Thursday is an 8/1 play, but that shouldn’t appear on too many bet slips either, we don’t expect.