Rapid Wien are right back into contention in Group G, although Rangers would eliminate their hosts with victory in Austria.
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A surprise 2-1 comeback win at Spartak Moskva on matchday five has reignited Rapid Wien's UEFA Europa League challenge, leaving them well placed to reach the knockout phase. However, Rangers will eliminate the Austrian side and qualify themselves if they take all three points in Vienna. Both clubs could finish anywhere between first and fourth.
• In a group marked by a proliferation of draws, Rapid are the only team in Group G to have won more than one of their five matches, completing the double over Spartak thanks to two late goals in Moscow, the second in added time from substitute Philipp Schobesberger. That result put them level on seven points with Villarreal at the top of the table – though behind the Spanish club on head-to-head results. If Rapid avoid defeat against Rangers they are through, and will top the group if they better Villarreal's result at home to Spartak.
• Rangers have drawn three of their five matches, including a 0-0 stalemate in their last game at home to Villarreal. The only way they can now qualify for the round of 32 is by completing the double over Rapid – their solitary win in the group was at home to the Austrian side – and lifting their tally to eight points. Furthermore, if Rangers win and Villarreal do not beat Spartak, the Glasgow side will top the group.
• The matchday two encounter at Ibrox ended 3-1 to Rangers, with Alfredo Morelos scoring a double. That was the clubs' first UEFA encounter for over half a century, Rangers having defeated Rapid home (1-0) and away (2-0) in the first round of the 1964/65 European Champion Clubs' Cup.
• Rangers lost their only other game in Austria, 2-0 at Sturm Graz in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League, whereas Rapid are unbeaten in their other four home games against Scottish sides, winning the first three before drawing the most recent 3-3 against Celtic – having led 3-0 – in the group stage of the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League.
• Third place in the 2017/18 Austrian Bundesliga earned Rapid a place in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, where they overcame Slovan Bratislava 5-2 on aggregate (1-2 away, 4-0 home) before eliminating FCSB in the play-offs (3-1 home, 1-2 away).
• Although there was no European campaign for Rapid last season, they are very familiar with the UEFA Europa League group stage; this is their seventh appearance – only fellow Austrians Salzburg have been involved in more. On just one occasion, however, have the Vienna outfit qualified for the round of 32 – in 2015/16, when they were eliminated after a record 10-0 aggregate defeat by Valencia.
• Three wins and one draw in Vienna this season mean Rapid are unbeaten in seven European home games (W4 D3). They are also on a run of 12 home matches without defeat in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W7 D5), since going down 0-4 to Bayer Leverkusen on matchday three in 2012/13.
• Rangers qualified for 2018/19 European competition with a third-placed finish in last season's Scottish Premiership. They are one of four teams to have reached this group stage after beginning their UEFA Europa League journey in the first qualifying round, knocking out Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor and, in the play-offs, Ufa – all without losing a match.
• This is the Gers' debut appearance in a UEFA Europa League group stage, although they reached the last 16 in 2010/11 after crossing over in mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League.
• Defeated unexpectedly by Progrès Niedercorn of Luxembourg in last season's UEFA Europa League first qualifying round on their return to Europe after a six-year wait, Rangers have drawn 12 of their last 20 continental fixtures outside Scotland but won only one – 1-0 at Osijek in this season’s second qualifying round.
Links and trivia
• Mateo Barać (Rapid) and Borna Barišić (Rangers) are international team-mates for Croatia. They also played together in defence for Osijek from 2016–2018, with Rangers' Albanian midfielder Eros Grezda appearing alongside them last season.
• Rangers manager Steven Gerrard played three times for England against Austria, scoring a goal in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Vienna in September 2004 (2-2).
• Rapid's 5-0 defeat at Villarreal on matchday three meant they usurped Athletic Club as the team with the most defeats in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (22).
• Rangers are one of ten clubs in the 2018/19 group stage who have lost UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League finals, the others being Anderlecht, Vidi, Salzburg, Bordeaux, Lazio, Arsenal, Celtic, Sporting CP and, on three occasions, Marseille. Of that group only Anderlecht have lifted the trophy.
• Dietmar Kühbauer was named as the new head coach of Rapid on 1 October, replacing Goran Djuricin, who was dismissed two days earlier after a 0-2 home defeat to a St Pölten side led by Kühbauer. A Rapid legend as a player, midfielder 'Didi' won the Austrian Bundesliga title in 1995/96, the same season in which he helped the club reach the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final. Capped 55 times by Austria between 1992 and 2005, his coaching career came to a halt in November 2015 after spells with Admira and Wolfsberg, before resuming in April 2018 at St Pölten.
• A Liverpool great with 186 goals in 710 appearances for the Anfield club, most of them as captain, Steven Gerrard launched his managerial career at Glasgow giants Rangers in May 2018. An England international for 14 years, accumulating 114 caps and 21 goals, the dynamic midfielder won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League with Liverpool. After an 18-month end-of-career spell with LA Galaxy he returned to coach Liverpool's youth team before the job at Ibrox lured him to Scotland.