This Thursday (note the kick off has just been changed to 8pm UK time (see https://twitter.com/RangersFC/status/1308033486696198144) the mighty Glasgow Rangers play the Dutch team Willem II Tilburg with the winners drawn to play Galatasaray or Hajduk Split in the play-off for the group stage.
Technically, Willem II are not as good as Feyenoord, but tactically they are stronger. In the Dutch Eredivisie, they are typically a mid to bottom level team, but with new management (their manager is Adrie Koster, hired in 2018) they are now punching considerably above their weight.
As a manager, Koster is very well-travelled, and replicating Graeme Murty was the manager of both the Ajax Junior and senior teams. (Be warned, I have seen the Ajax youth training videos and they are really impressive… )
Overall, Koster appears to modifies his play around a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1, with a strong emphasis on defence.
However recently his attackers are finding the net with increasing efficiency, and they are beginning to dominate games in a far more aggressive manner. In some ways his style appears to match the Ajax system, in which they try with varying success to guide their opponents into specific regions of the park, and then cut off their passing angles.
Despite their loss a few weeks ago to Heerenveen, today, Willem II is a team that is very high in confidence. In their last game they just defeated Heracles (4:0).
And it also has to be said that many Dutch fans look down on Scottish football, and they think Rangers’ win last year was a massive fluke.
So, it’s clear the Dutch fans are really looking forward to playing Rangers, and despite Rangers’ strong showing in Europe last Europe, many in The Netherlands still think Willem will easily beat Rangers.
This is going to be a tough match, and to win this game the key will be good, clear communication between the strikers and midfield.
Expect a close game with both sides scoring…