Europa League, Round of 16 second leg, Thursday, 03/17/2022
What a force Rangers FC can develop in the European Cup this season, BVB already had to painfully experience first hand in the knockout playoffs of the Europa League.
After a 4-2 home defeat, Borussia only managed a 2-2 draw in Glasgow and was thus eliminated from the competition at a surprisingly early stage. In the round of 16 first leg against Red Star Belgrade, the reigning Scottish champions picked up exactly where they left off against BVB in front of their home crowd.
The Light Blues won 3-0 against the Serbian league champions and now have more than one leg in the quarterfinals. However, FK Crvena Zvezda have not thrown in the towel just yet.
The oddsmakers see the hosts slightly in front at the Red Star Rangers forecast with win odds of 2.25 maximum. The Scots, on the other hand, enter the race with win odds of up to 3.25.
If you look at the market value, however, the “Gers” have the nose in front with 132 million to 51 million euros. In their national leagues, both clubs have hopes of defending their titles, but could also have to settle for second place if the final phase of the season doesn’t go their way.
However, the form curve of both teams is currently quite respectable: Rangers are unbeaten in 11 competitive games. Belgrade have conceded just one defeat in their last 18 games – a 3-0 first-leg loss in Glasgow
In the preseason, Red Star Belgrade secured their fourth consecutive national championship. It was also the second consecutive league title under coach Dejan Stankovic.
Crvena Zvezda also won the double for the first time since 2006/07. In the current season, the Serbian Super League has seen a duel between champions Red Star and neighbors Partizan for some time now.
After 27 match days, both rivals stand alone at the top of the table with 72 points. While the “Crveno-beli” have the best offense with 67 goals, Partizan conceded only nine goals in 27 games, which is of course the best value in the league.
The defending champions are now unbeaten in 14 league games. The only defeat of the season was a 2-1 loss at Radnik Surdulica. In return, they were able to inflict their only defeat to date on their black and white neighbors.
At the end of February, Crvena Zvezda won the city derby at home with 2:0 against Partizan. In total, the Stankovic eleven has thus won all of the last seven league games.
In the Europa League, Belgrade won Group F with just six goals scored, ahead of Braga, Midtyjlland and Ludogorets. Now they are in the EL round of 16 for the first time.
Last season, the Serbian record champions were eliminated after two draws against Milan due to the away goals rule that was still in force at the time (2:2, 1:1). In the last 11 EL home games, there have been only two home defeats, against Midtjylland and FC Arsenal.
The biggest priority for the club is, of course, the national championship. Coach Stankovic lamented the missed chances after the first leg in Glasgow, including a missed penalty in particular.
Glasgow Rangers had to cope with the departure of coach Steven Gerrard to Premier League club Aston Villa last November. Gerrard had led the “Light Blues” to their first league title in ten years in the pre-season, completely unbeaten.
The Dutchman Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who played professionally for the Gers from 1998 to 2001, was chosen as his successor.
As a coach, van Bronckhorst had previously managed only two clubs, Feyenoord and Guangzhou R&F. The reigning Scottish champions’ record under the new coach is nevertheless impressive.
In 25 games, they have only lost one match. This defeat, however, was particularly bitter. At the beginning of February, Rangers lost the “Old Firm” to visiting arch-rivals Celtic.
The 3-0 defeat also meant they had to let their green and white city neighbors slip past them in the table. The Rangers are currently three points behind Celtic.
With four wins and two draws in the league, the Light Blues have recovered quite well from the first defeat under van Bronckhorst. Now it’s on to the Europa League, where the team has caused quite a stir so far.
The first EL quarterfinal in the club’s history beckons. Three times the team had reached the last 16: against Slavia Praha (2020/21), PSV Eindhoven (2010/11) and Bayer Leverkusen (2019/20).
However, the coach warns his players not to forget the duel. Belgrade is very strong at home. With the fans behind them, Red Star would ignite a real witches’ cauldron.
The first leg was the eighth time the two clubs had met. Here, Rangers celebrated their fourth victory. This compares to two draws and two defeats.
In Belgrade, Glasgow has been a guest three times, and so far has only picked up one draw. In the CL qualifiers of the 2007/08 season, it was enough for a 0-0 draw, while the visits in the National Champions Cup of the 1964/65 season (2:4) and in the Champions League round of 16 of the 1990/91 season (0:3) were clearly lost.
Basically, the “Crveno-beli” are still unbeaten at home after five games against Scottish teams, with three draws. Only once, however, has Red Star been able to overturn such a clear first-leg defeat.
In the 1978/79 UEFA Cup, they lost 5-2 at eventual GDR series champions BFC Dynamo, but a 4-1 home win in the second leg saw them through to the next round.
Of course, Rangers’ starting position ahead of the second leg in Belgrade is excellent. Nevertheless, great caution applies. If the home side takes a two-goal lead at any point, the stadium will boil over and anything is possible.
The guests will have to be fully up to the task. The fact that “Red Star” has to score three goals should suit Glasgow. Thus, the Scots can counterattack and also score one or two away goals.
My bet on the match between Red Star Belgrade and Glasgow Rangers is therefore “Both teams score”!