Rangers vs Slavia Prague: Gers in a great position but must learn from Leicester

The Scottish Premiership champions know a clean sheet would see them through to the quarter finals. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse previews a huge night at Ibrox for Scottish football...


Tie there to be won

Scottish Premiership champions Rangers host Czech First League winners Slavia Prague in this Round of 16 second leg. With Gers bagging a useful 1-1 draw at Eden Arena last week they are favourites to progress.

But they know nothing has been achieved yet.

Rangers grabbed a well-deserved away goal in Prague thanks to defender Filip Helander but must heed the warnings of the previous round. Leicester left Slavia with a goalless draw in the Round of 32 then were knocked out with Prague winning 2-0 at the King Power Stadium.

This tie is there to be won and both sides know it.

Helander the unlikely hero

Fans feared the worst ahead of the Gers' trip last Thursday after sharing in their team's two-day celebrations for securing a 55th league title. The Glaswegians looked shaky in the opening exchanges against Slavia, missing their usual zip and energy. They found themselves behind in the match after just seven minutes, Nicolae Stanciu curling home a stunning opener from distance.

Going a goal down so early in the contest against such a well-drilled opponent on the road was worrying but it wasn't the first time this Rangers team found themselves in that position. They showed the character and discipline to battle back in the past and did so again.

Growing into the contest Gers finally got their reward when Helander finished a fantastic piece of play by Ianis Hagi to poke the ball home. It wasn't nearly as pretty as the game's first, but it was just as important. They got the away goal to give them the advantage returning to Govan.

Step down in class

Having shocked English Premier League top-four contenders Leicester in the previous round Slavia fans and players would have been forgiven for thinking the draw against Rangers was a step down in standard of opponent. The Red and Whites are on an incredible run of form, both domestically and in Europe.

Jindřich Trpišovský's troops finished as runners up in Europa League Group C behind Bayer Leverkusen, three points off the Germans after losing their last group match. They progressed to pull off the shock of the round in beating the Foxes over two legs. Goals from Lukas Provod and Abdallah Sima sent Brendan Rodgers packing.

Prague were last seen in action beating Mlada Boleslav 3-0 away from home on Sunday. That result maintained their unbeaten run and moved them a step closer to another league championship. The visitors arrive in Glasgow in high spirits.

Gers favourites after weekend off

There's no doubt Rangers were out-played for long periods in Prague, but the stats show despite having 60% of the ball possession Prague managed just three shots on target. One was the goal from range. The Blues grew into the contest and will believe they are in a strong position. They also enjoyed a well-deserved weekend off. The home win is 2.34 on the Betfair Exchange.

Prague will feel frustrated at losing an away goal and missing the chance to win at home, but the tie remains competitive. A win in Glasgow will see them through. The pre-match betting on the Betfair Exchange has Slavia Prague at 3.45 with another draw 3.4.

Under 2.5 goals the trend

When looking through the stats associated with this game, we note there has been two goals or less scored in each of Slavia's last three Europa League games. Under 2.5 goals is priced at 1.88 with over the same mark 1.99.

Both teams scored in the previous match and with this game finely poised it would be no surprise to see them each find the net again. Both teams to score is 1.8 with no in the same market 2.16. We're taking a narrow home win.


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