Rangers earned a notable away point in their first Group G game, but now face early leaders Rapid Wien.
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Encouraged by their opening 2-2 draw at UEFA Europa League specialists Villarreal, Rangers will hope to improve their standing in Group G by taking three points at Ibrox against a Rapid Wien side that also made a strong start, beating Spartak Moskva 2-0 in Vienna.
• It is 54 years since the clubs were last paired together in UEFA competition, Rangers beating Rapid home (1-0) and away (2-0) in the first round of the European Champion Clubs' Cup.
• Rangers have also won their other two home games against Austrian opposition, while Rapid have never been victorious in four visits to Scotland (D1 L3). They did, however, beat Celtic 1-0 away at Old Trafford in Manchester in the 1984/85 European Cup Winners' Cup second round second leg, Celtic's original 3-0 victory in Glasgow having been declared void because of crowd trouble. Rapid went on to reach the final.
• 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, Russian side 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. They were UEFA Cup runners-up in 2007/08, losing 2-0 in the Manchester final to Zenit.
• 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 nevertheless won the home leg of that tie and are undefeated in six European matches at Ibrox (W4 D2).
• 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 side reached the round of 32 – in 2015/16, when they were eliminated after a record 10-0 aggregate defeat by Valencia.
• Rapid have won only one of their last nine European away fixtures, losing six including both this term. Their away record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W3 D3 L12.
Links and trivia
• Borna Barišić (Rangers) and Mateo Barać (Rapid) 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).
• 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.
• 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.