Section leaders Rangers still have work to do in Group D, but a place in the round of 32 will be theirs if they win at home to Standard Liège.
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Having surrendered two-goal leads to draw twice against Benfica in their last two encounters, table-toppers Rangers still have work to do in Group D, but a place in the round of 32 will be theirs if they win at home to a Standard Liège side that had to wait until Matchday 4 to register their first points of the section.
• Unbeaten Rangers and Benfica are level on eight points, boasting a five-point cushion between themselves and both Standard and Lech Poznań, who each won at home when they faced each other in the last two matches, Standard needing an added-time strike from Konstantinos Laifis to win 2-1. While the Scottish and Portuguese sides will both qualify with a Matchday 5 home win, the same will be true if they each avoid defeat.
• Rangers beat Standard 2-0 in Liège on Matchday 1 courtesy of a James Tavernier penalty and a sensational added-time strike from his own half by Kemar Roofe – his first European goal.
• That was the clubs’ first UEFA encounter since 1961/62, when Standard beat Rangers 4-3 on aggregate (4-1 h, 0-2 a) in the European Cup quarter-final. Reaching the semi-finals that season remains the Belgian club's best ever performance in Europe's premier club competition.
• That 4-1 defeat by Standard in 1962 is Rangers' only loss in seven games against Belgian opposition (W4 D1). The Glasgow giants have won all three home games, most recently 2-1 against Club Brugge in the group stage of the inaugural UEFA Champions League in 1992/93.
• While Standard were unbeaten at home to Scottish opposition until Matchday 1, they have lost four of their six games in Scotland, though the sole victory came on their last visit, 1-0 in Edinburgh against Hearts in the first leg of a 1992/93 UEFA Cup second round tie that they won 2-0 on aggregate.
• Rangers were in second place 13 points behind Celtic when the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership came to a premature end. They also enjoyed a lengthy run in Europe, progressing from the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League all the way to the round of 16, where, as Scotland's last team standing, they were eliminated by Bayer Leverkusen (1-3 h, 0-1 a).
• Steven Gerrard's side came through three qualifiers to reach this season's group stage, beating Lincoln Red Imps (5-0) and Willem II (4-0) on the road before a 2-1 play-off success against Galatasaray in Glasgow. They made it five wins out of five by beating Standard (2-0 a) and Lech Poznań (1-0 h) in the first two games of what is the club's third successive group stage participation. Rangers finished third in their section two seasons ago but progressed last term in second place behind Porto, their nine-point total enabling them to finish ahead of Young Boys and Feyenoord.
• Rangers were undefeated in 17 home European matches (W12 D5) until they lost 3-1 to Leverkusen in last season's round of 16 first leg. The clean sheet on Matchday 2 against Lech (1-0) is the only one in their last six UEFA fixtures at Ibrox, seven having been registered in the previous eight. They were held 2-2 by Benfica on Matchday 4.
• Standard were placed fifth in the 2019/20 Belgian First Division A when it was called to a halt in March. Knocked out of last season's UEFA Europa League at the group stage, they came through three qualifying rounds this season under new coach Philippe Montanier – all at home, against Bala Town (2-0), Vojvodina (2-1 aet) and Fehérvár (3-1) – to secure an eighth appearance in the competition proper.
• The Liège club have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage in six previous campaigns, but have only once made further progress, at the first attempt in 2011/12, when they reached the round of 16. They were also quarter-finalists in the inaugural 2009/10 season after switching over mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League. Last season they finished third in Group F with eight points, behind Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt.
• Standard have won only one of their last 19 away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (D5 L13), a 3-0 success at Panathinaikos in the 2016/17 group stage. Since then their record is D3 L6, including defeats this season at Benfica (0-3) and Lech (1-3).
Links and trivia
• Rangers' Ryan Jack and Standard's Gojko Cimirot are both one game away from making their 50th appearance in UEFA club competition.
• Rangers' Borna Barišić and Standard striker Duje Čop are both Croatian internationals.
• Rangers' Romanian midfielder Ianis Hagi spent the first half of 2019/20 in Belgium with Genk before joining Rangers on loan. His one game against Standard was a 1-0 defeat in Liège.
• Roofe joined Rangers from Anderlecht in August 2020. His last goal for the Brussels side was in a 1-1 draw against Standard in December 2019.
• Only one of Rangers manager Gerrard's 114 international appearances for England came against Belgium; he captained his country to a 1-0 friendly win at Wembley on 2 June 2012.
• Gerrard's Liverpool side overcame Standard after extra time in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (0-0 a, 1-0 h).
• Standard's seventh appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage is a record for a Belgian club, one more than Anderlecht and Club Brugge.