Willem II v Rangers: The lowdown on Dutch side looking to take down Steven Gerrard's men
Tillburg outfit have Greek striker who could harm Gers’ prospects ...
Rangers take on Dutch outfit Willem II in their Europa League third qualifying round clash on Thursday.
A play-off showdown with Galatasaray at Ibrox awaits Rangers should they progress.
Here is the lowdown on the first hurdle to be overcome for Steven Gerrard's team.
The Tilburg side opened their European campaign with a 5-0 trouncing of Rangers' old foes Progres Niederkorn to set up the visit of Gerrard's team to the Koning Willem II Stadion. They claimed their place in the Europa League on the basis they were sitting fifth in last season's Eredivisie, 12 points behind leaders Ajax, when the competition was called off because of Covid-19. They have had mixed results so far this term, however, losing their opener away to Heerenveen before bouncing back to smash Heracles 4-0.
Adrie Koster has managed the length and breadth of the Netherlands, chalking up stints at nine different clubs including a spell as caretaker boss at Ajax. The former PSV winger - capped three times by Holland - returned for a second go at managing Willem II in 2018 having previously taken charge of the club for a year back in 1990. He led Willem II to their first Dutch Cup final in 14 years at the end of his first campaign but saw his team suffer a 4-0 hammering from Ajax.
Greek striker Vangelis Pavlidis has already been marked out as the Dutch side's dangerman by Gerrard. The 6ft 1in frontman scored 13 times for the Eredivisie outfit last season and has kicked off this campaign with doubles against both Progres and Heracles. Gerrard is wary of the 21-year-old's physicality and his concerns will only have grown after seeing Connor Goldson and Filip Helander struggle to deal with Hibs’ Christian Doidge on Sunday.
Williem II came up against British opposition in their first ever European jaunt, losing to Manchester United 7-2 on aggregate in a 1963 Cup Winners' Cup contest. They qualified for the Champions League group stages in 1999 but were dumped out after taking just two points from their six games.