Preview: Rangers vs. PSV Eindhoven 

Preview: Rangers vs. PSV Eindhoven 

Another mammoth European encounter takes place under the bright lights of Ibrox on Tuesday night, as Rangers face off against PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying playoff round tie.

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s side battled past Royale Union Saint Gilloise of Belgium to keep their continental dreams alive, while the Dutch giants sent Monaco packing in the previous round.

Not since the 2010-11 season have Rangers plied their trade in the group stage of the Champions League, but the Gers are now the closest that they have been since to ending that barren streak after a few unsuccessful quests in the Europa League.

Of course, defeating Eintracht Frankfurt in the final of Europe’s second-tier competition would have guaranteed them a place in pot one for the group-stage draw, but Rangers have been forced to do it the hard way, and they sure did do it the hard way against Union SG in round three.

Van Bronckhorst’s side were under pressure to deliver at Ibrox after a 2-0 first-leg defeat away from home, but goals from James Tavernier, Malik Tillman and Antonio Colak turned the tie around for Rangers, who carried that momentum into their domestic meeting with St Johnstone.

The 55-time Scottish champions put four past Callum Davidson’s side without reply on Saturday for their third successive victory and third successive clean sheet in all competitions, with each of those triumphs coming in front of their own supporters.

None of RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade or Braga could get the better of Rangers at Ibrox in the Europa League last season, but PSV ought to fear no-one after battling their way through the third round against revered opposition.

PSV produced a performance that would have delighted both the striker and manager in Ruud van Nistelrooy when Monaco came to town for their second leg of their Champions League third-round qualifying tie, as the Eredivisie powerhouses sought to make home advantage count after a 1-1 first-leg draw.

A frenetic battle at the Philips Stadion ultimately went to extra time thanks to Erick Gutierrez’s 89th-minute header to level the scores at 2-2, and in the 109th minute of the contest, Luuk de Jong picked an ideal time to score his first goal back at PSV to send his side through 4-3 on aggregate.

Attacking excellence was also on the menu in PSV’s most recent Eredivisie encounter, which ended 5-2 in their favour against Go Ahead Eagles, with Xavi Simons scoring a brace against their 10-man opponents.

Since Rangers last reached the group stage of the Champions League in 2010, PSV have fallen at that hurdle twice – as well as reaching the last 16 of the 2015-16 edition – but their qualifying journey came to an end at this stage against Benfica last year.

Rangers and PSV actually met in Europe in the 2010-11 season after the Scottish side dropped down to the Europa League, where they fell to a 1-0 aggregate loss in the last-16, and PSV also come into Tuesday’s game with an 11-match unbeaten streak in all competitions to protect.

Rangers Champions League form:
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Rangers form (all competitions):
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PSV Eindhoven Champions League form:
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PSV Eindhoven form (all competitions):
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We say: Rangers 2-2 PSV Eindhoven
European nights at Ibrox invoke a fire within the bellies of the Rangers squad, who have held their own against plenty of tough continental opponents in recent months and head into the first leg with a golden touch in front of goal.

The Gers’ defensive resilience should not count for much against a PSV side in extremely prolific form themselves, but Van Bronckhorst’s men would do well to come away with a first-leg draw and leave everything to play for in the Netherlands.

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