Steven Gerrard’s ‘Invincibles’ were unable to live up to their moniker during the first leg in Sweden, falling to a 2-1 reversal, though a 95th-minute Steven Davis finish has just swung the momentum in Rangers’ favour as they welcome Malmo back to Ibrox, an intimidating arena even if it won’t be a full house.
Given the fashion in which Rangers won the title last season and reached the Europa League round of 16, getting results against the likes of Benfica, Slavia Prague and Standard Liege, Gerrard will feel confident of turning this game on its head and navigating a path to the Champions League play-offs.
However, Malmo are not an opponent to underestimate. Rangers are familiar with the Swedish champions after they eliminated them from this stage of the qualifiers exactly a decade ago, while the 2-1 home win in Scania underpins the quality of Jon Dahl Tomasson and his side.
Rangers vs Malmo: Match Stats
Malmo made light work of winning the 2020 Allsvenskan (Sweden’s top flight), while they have already seen off Riga FC and HJK to reach this stage of the qualifiers, so Rangers know they are in for a tough evening. In Antonio-Mirko Colak (seven goals) and Veljko Birmancevic (six goals), Malmo boast the highest and second-highest goalscorers in the Allsvenskan this season respectively, while Anders Christiansen has created the second-most big chances (seven), so they have a competent supplier and two players who can finish confidently. Rangers found that out on Tuesday as Birmancevic breached Allan McGregor’s net.
Of course, Rangers enter this contest having netted a quite ridiculous 92 goals in the Scottish top flight last season, conceding just 13 times which gave them a goal difference of +79. Having already hit three past Livingston in their Scottish Premiership opening at the weekend, Rangers enter this season-defining game in a goal-hungry mood and with their boots already warmed up.
Rangers vs Malmo: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Rangers 1-1 Malmo
Rangers vs Malmo: Odds
Rangers vs Malmo: Head to Head
03 Aug 2021 – Malmo 2-1 Rangers – Champions League
03 Aug 2011 – Malmo 1-1 Rangers – Champions League
26 July 2011 – Rangers 0-1 Malmo – Champions League
These two sides met in this exact same stage of the Champions League qualifiers in 2011/12, with Malmo progressing 2-1 on aggregate. Ally McCoist’s side lost the first leg 1-0 at Ibrox but managed to fare better than Gerrard’s men in Malmo, drawing 1-1, though that was not enough to see them through. Rangers went on to lose the qualifiers for the Europa League as well, getting eliminated by Maribor.