Verdict: Rangers win
Best odds: 11/10
Turning their attention to midweek European fixtures, Rangers will look to gain an early lead when they play away against Swedes at Malmo on Tuesday night.
Starting with the hosts, managing to avoid what was a real scare for Finnish side HJK last week, Malmo almost managed to extend their Champions League qualifying adventure. Jon Dahl Tomasson’s team will know they face another tough test on Tuesday night. Struggling to find the best equipment during their two European fixtures against HJK and Riga over the past three weeks, the Light Blues still find themselves in a battle to defend their national crown. Despite being last seen at Allsvenskan with a 2-0 away win over Mjällby two weeks ago, Malmo are still chasing one point behind Djurgården and first place. If Tuesday’s hosts want to take a midweek advantage, Tomasson will call on hot Andres Christiansen to lead their charge. After scoring last time, the 31-year-old has scored four goals in his last five games in all formats.
Enjoying a full-points European race, skipper Anders Christiansen will play a number 10 role on Tuesday night.
Malmo have confirmed long-term injury absentee Ola Toivonen will miss once again mid-week.
As for the visitors, seeing Celtic open this year’s Premiership campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Hearts, Rangers have managed to get their season off to a good start. Only by continuing on what has been a notable rise under Steven Gerrard, the defending Scottish champions secured a landslide 3-0 win over Livingston in Ibrox over the weekend. With the mood on top in their field and many pointing to them as a runaway choice to defend their national crown this season, the former England skipper has also seen his team gain perfect momentum with their last pre-season outing. Shocking many across Europe, the Blues scored a stunning 2-1 win against Spanish giants Real Madrid at home. Making their first Champions League appearance in a decade on Tuesday night, Rangers will seek revenge mid-week. Surprisingly, the last time Gerrard’s side were seen in the Champions League in August 2011, they were hit with a 2-1 aggregate loss to Malmo.
Despite returning from Copa America engagements, Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos will miss once again on Tuesday while remaining in quarantine.
Similarly, the duo of Kemar Roofe and Glen Kamara will not appear as they are serving suspensions.
Key factors to consider
- Surprisingly, the last time Rangers were seen serving in the Champions League a decade ago they were hit with a 2-1 aggregate loss to the hosts on Tuesday.
- Three of Malmo’s last four European home games have ended with both teams finding the net.
- Steven Gerrard’s side opened the 2021/22 Premiership season with a 3-0 win over Livingston in Ibrox.
- Each of Malmo’s last six games in all formats have seen over 1.5 goals on the final whistle.
- In continuity with last season, Rangers are unbeaten in each of the last 12 consecutive competitive away games.
While the Rangers may be without some of their big names on Tuesday night, Steven Gerrard’s men should look to get an early lead on foreign soil. Confident of getting some rematch after their last Champions League outing against Malmo a decade ago, the mood in the Blues camp should be at its peak. Opening their Premiership title defense with a 3-0 win over Livingston at home, Rangers also shocked many across Europe with their pre-season outing against Spanish giants Real Madrid. By winning 2-1 at Ibrox and making the trip to Sweden midweek riding a real wave, we support what could be another captivating race for Gerrard’s side.
Verdict: Rangers win
Best odds: 11/10