Preview: PSV Eindhoven vs. Rangers

Preview: PSV Eindhoven vs. Rangers

As was the case 12 months ago, PSV Eindhoven and RangersChampions League qualifying playoff tie is on a knife-edge heading into Wednesday’s second leg at Philips Stadion.

For the second year running, the two clubs played out a topsy-turvy 2-2 draw at Ibrox in their opening encounter, where Peter Bosz’s side came from behind twice to rescue a slice of the spoils.

Failure to take one of the several opportunities presented to them at Ibrox would seemingly cost PSV dear last week, as Abdallah Sima opened the scoring with a peach of a strike just before the break, and an Ibrahim Sangare response was also cancelled out by Rabbi Matondo’s crisp strike.

However, lightning would strike twice on Glaswegian soil, as with 10 minutes remaining, PSV’s talismanic marksman Luuk de Jong rose highest from a corner, and while the Dutchman missed his header, the ball cannoned off the top of his shoulder into the back of the net.

A couple more last-gasp chances came and went for Rangers, as their Dutch counterparts travelled back to base in a strong position to clear the final hurdle, but few PSV fans will need reminding of how last year’s second leg at Philips Stadion panned out.

However, the Dutch Super Cup winners enter Wednesday’s winner-takes-all clash with an astonishing 23-game unbeaten run to protect since February’s Europa League humbling at the hands of seasoned winners Sevilla, although their first-leg draw did snap a six-game winning sequence for Bosz’s troops.

Nevertheless, PSV have now found the back of the net at least twice in five successive matches and have not suffered a single competitive defeat at Philips Stadion so far in 2023 – winning 13 and drawing one of their last 14 contests in front of their own supporters.

Preview: PSV vs. Rangers – prediction, team news, lineups

In order to deny PSV a first Champions League group-stage berth since the 2018-19 campaign, Michael Beale’s Rangers must channel the spirits of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s troops, who ran out 1-0 winners at Philips Stadion last year thanks to an Antonio Colak strike before a forgettable group-stage campaign.

While PSV were blessed with a weekend off from domestic duties, Rangers were not afforded such a luxury and travelled to Ross County on Saturday for their latest Scottish Premiership affair, but the Gers made light work of their opponents in a straightforward 2-0 win.

First-half goals from Kemar Roofe and James Tavernier proved telling at the Global Energy Stadium, as Rangers made it third time lucky on the road this season, having been defeated by Kilmarnock and held to a 1-1 draw by Servette before picking up an opportune away triumph.

Now entering Wednesday’s second leg with a six-game unbeaten run to protect, Rangers have also made the net ripple twice on five occasions in that hot streak – the one aberration being their Servette stalemate – and recent history is not the only thing on their side in Eindhoven.

Indeed, from the previous nine meetings between PSV and Rangers in all competitions, the Eredivisie side have only ever managed to beat their Scottish counterparts on one occasion – a 1-0 Ibrox win in the second leg of a 2010-11 Europa League last-16 tie courtesy of a Jeremain Lens effort – and a repeat of the 35-year-old’s heroics this week would not go amiss for the hosts.

PSV Eindhoven Champions League form:

PSV Eindhoven form (all competitions):

Rangers Champions League form:

Rangers form (all competitions):

We say: PSV Eindhoven 2-1 Rangers (PSV win 4-3 on aggregate)
PSV may have wasted a glut of golden opportunities at Ibrox, but Bosz’s men always seem to notch multiple goals no matter the occasion, and attack should be the best form of defence for the Eredivisie giants this week given their fresh fitness woes at the back.

A makeshift PSV backline should not keep Rangers’ own bright offensive talents at bay, but with the hosts also benefitting from an extended recuperation period and proving unbeatable in front of the home crowd so far in 2023, vengeance should be theirs as Beale’s men accept demotion to Europa League football.

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