DUTCH side Feyenoord make the journey to Ibrox on Thursday night for the opening fixture of Group G of the Europa League as Steven Gerrard's side gear up for a second successive campaign in the group stages.

The Ibrox club have generally impressed in Europe so far this season and remian unbeaten, having never trailed for a single minute in the eight qualifying matches they've competed in so far. While Legia Warsaw provided Rangers' toughest European fixture so far this season, Feyenoord are a different beast and Gerrard will need to be wary of the threat that the Dutch club pose.

Players like Luciano Narsingh, Sam Larsson and Steven Berghuis provide the Dutch club with plenty of dangerous options going forward but at the other end of the park there is no getting away from the fact that Feyenoord look a little suspect.


READ MORE: Sam Larsson out to silence Ibrox crowd and earn Europa League victory over Rangers

Feyenoord boss Jaap Stam has generally opted for a back four of Ridgeciano Haps, Eric Botteghin, Jan-Arie van der Heijden and Rick Karsdrop so far this season, with mixed results.

As is fairly typical of a Dutch side, Stam like his players to play out from the back but this has led to errors on more than a few occasions so far this season. The Feyenoord defence usually do well at winning the first ball forward but all too often, the ball is then played directly to an opponent or the next player in possession is robbed of it. They rarely play long balls to bypass the opposition midfield; if Rangers commit players forward, then, and are aware of this issue, they can exploit it to their advantage.

Feyenoord generally struggle when in transition and this is something that Gerrard must exploit if his side are to get their Group G campaign off to a winning start. Rather than dropping back to support the defence, Feyenoord's midfield are relatively static and instead focus on facing up against their opponents whenever they lose the ball. If you can play a long ball forward or evade this press, Stam's team regularly look vulnerable and can be outnumbered by opposition midfielders bursting forward to join the attack. They generally play with a high back line so quick, direct players can cause all sorts of issues for the Dutch defence.

Stam's attackers often press fairly high up the park but not with too much intensity, so the Rangers defenders will need to be composed on the ball on Thursday evening. Like in midfield, if you can get past one man and beat the press, space opens up.


READ MORE: Michael Mols warns Rangers not to take European foes Feyenoord lightly

Getting the ball forward quickly will be absolutely crucial for Rangers at Ibrox, particularly once the Feyenoord forwards lose the ball. The vast majority of the goalscoring opportunities that Feyenoord have conceded this season have come as a result of direct, counter-attacking play from the opposition and Gerrard should follow this template on Thursday night.

The group stage opener will be a tricky test for Rangers but it is a game where the home side have an excellent chance of picking up three points. Stam's team have some fantastic players going forward but look suspect att the back, particularly in scenarios where they lose the ball. Beating the press, attacking with pace and launching direct balls forward looks like Rangers' best route to goal at Ibrox. If Gerrard's side can do so successfully, then the chances will fall for them and it will simply come down to whether or not they can take them.