Rangers face Hamburger SV today in the latest chapter of a long-standing friendship between the clubs amid what will amount to a strong test again against another fine side, this time a very adept Bundesliga B outfit.
It was heartbreaking what happened to Tim Walter’s side last season, they were a single minute away from promotion only for a 99th winner from Heidenheim elsewhere to deny them it and condemn them to another season in the Bundesliga B.
So this is basically a lower Bundesliga-level side who are just an inch off being where they belong, by bad luck, fate, you name it.
And after Rangers’ tough test v Newcastle, Walter’s side won’t go any easier at Ibrox today and will give Michael Beale an even better picture of how his squad is starting to shape up.
Hamburg is about the right level – Newcastle are out of our league these days, sad to say, but Hamburg is a good barometer of where we are.
And Michael Beale will hope he can call on the services of new striker Cyriel Dessers for the first time as a Rangers player and put the Nigeria international straight into the XI.
As for lineup, as a friendly it doesn’t overly matter but fans will still react regardless with outrage, endorsement you name it, because that’s football.
Butland will be in goal, back four of Tavernier, Souttar, Balogun and Ridvan, midfield of Raskin, Dowell and Cantwell, and front three of Lammers, Sima and Dessers.
That might not be it, and there’s Lundstram, Jack, Barisic and quite a few others not mentioned in there, but Beale wants a strong performance today against the level of side Rangers should be able to contend with at this point in preseason.
The work has really gone in over the summer recess, but the action is hotting up a bit now.
The serious stuff starts in two weeks and Rangers are starting to be in a ‘ready’ position.
So we’ll need to see that preparation pay off on the pitch.
Hamburg could be a good win if we earn it.