Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers resume their Europa League commitments on Thursday as they travel to Belgium to face Royal Antwerp.
The encounter is the first leg of the round of 32, and represents the first time these two opponents have met in a competitive fixture.
Steven Gerrard’s side are just a few wins away from stopping Celtic’s nine-year reign as Scottish champions. They will be looking forward to putting together another run in European competition.
Last season, they reached the round of 16, where they lost to Bayer Leverkusen after beating Braga in the round of 32.
Rangers finished top of their group before Christmas, pipping Benfica to top spot on away goals in the head-to-head record. They have already faced a Belgian side this season, winning both games against Standard Liege in the group stages.
In the game in Liege, Kemar Roofe scored a memorable goal from near the halfway line, as Rangers began their campaign in style.
Meanwhile, Antwerp are not having a bad season domestically. They are currently second, 13 points behind runaway leaders Club Brugge.
They had a memorable group stage as well, in which they finished second behind Tottenham Hotspur. They beat the English giants 1-0 in the game played at the Bosuilstadion.
Royal Antwerp vs Rangers Head-to-Head
Antwerp have never faced Rangers in a competitive game previously.
Royal Antwerp form guide: D-L-W-W-W
Rangers form guide: W-D-W-W-W
Royal Antwerp vs Rangers Team News
Striker Diumerci Mbokani, who has missed the last few weeks of action with a calf injury, remains on the sidelines.
Dylan Batubinsika and Jean Butez both have ankle injuries, while Faris Haroun and Matheus are out with calf injuries.
Striker Didier Lamkel Ze is suspended for the first leg of this tie.
Injured: Diumerci Mbokani, Dylan Batubinsika, Jean Butez, Faris Haroun, Matheus
Suspended: Didier Lamkel Ze
Alfredo Morelos has missed the last three league games due to a suspension, while Kemar Roofe was suspended for the last one too. Both of them are expected to start this game.
Scott Arfield remains a doubt for this game, while Nikola Katic is out with a knee injury.
Injured: Nikola Katic
Doubtful: Scott Arfield
Royal Antwerp vs Rangers Predicted XIs
Royal Antwerp Predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Alireza Beiranvand; Seck, Maxime Le Marchand, Ritchie de Laet; De Pauw, Hongla, Boya, Jordan Lukaku; Gerkens, Refaelov; Avenatti
Rangers Predicted XI (4-4-2): Allan McGregor; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic; Steven Davis, Ryan Jack, Joe Aribo; Kemar Roofe, Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent
Royal Antwerp vs Rangers Prediction
Rangers go in as slight favorites here, especially with Antwerp missing Mbokani and Lamkel Ze.
We are predicting a narrow win for the Scottish side on Thursday.
Prediction: Royal Antwerp 0-1 Rangers
Published 17 Feb 2021, 12:36 IST