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Malmo have finished in the top three of the Allsvenskan in eight of the past nine seasons, landing five titles over this spell including the 2020 edition.
They’re once again challenging for the title, where they currently trail leaders Djurgarden by a single point after 13 games, and should provide a strong test for Rangers over two legs.
The Swedish outfit also have plenty of experience in European competition, though they’ve only twice qualified for the group stages of either the Champions League or Europa League since 2016/17.
Last term they missed out when taking down Cracovia, Honved and Lokomotiva Zagreb in qualifiers, before falling to defeat when facing Granada at the final hurdle.
Malmo are currently on a seven-game unbeaten streak, which includes Champions League qualifiers with Latvian and Finish outfits Riga and HJK, where they narrowly won their home encounters and then secured a stalemate away from home on both occasions.
Rangers are a step up on those sides and as they proved last term, are a formidable force in Europe at this level. In qualifiers and play-offs, the Gers have won 13 of 19 unbeaten matches under Steven Gerrard, though five of the six draws did come on their travels.
They also registered 13 clean sheets over this period, including eight on the road, and their stunning defensive record last term domestically would suggest they’ll be hard to breach here as well.
Both Teams To Score
Still, Malmo are capable of scoring here on home turf. They’re quite an attacking side under former Milan striker Jon Dahl Thomasson and have won their past three league games by a combined 11-0 scoreline.
Moreover, they’ve only failed to score in five of their past 29 European matches, as well as only one of the last 10 as that came against Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg. Across all competitions, they haven’t failed to score in 17 fixtures going back to the start of April, with both teams registering in 13 of these.
Rangers may be good defensively, but they are more prone to conceding goals in Europe. They’ve registered just one clean sheet across their last eight, encompassing games against Benfica, Standard Liege, Lech Poznan, Royal Antwerp and Slavia Prague, with as many as five of those clashes featuring at least four goals.
Rangers kicked off their league campaign with a 3-0 win hosting Livingston and will be full of confidence after some encouraging pre-season results, most notably stalemates with Premier League sides Arsenal and Brighton, as well as a victory over Real Madrid.
However, they’re a little short at the prices away from home, and we’d stick to backing both teams to score rather than getting involved in the outright.
Gerrard is also without suspended duo Kemar Roofe and Glen Kamara, Ianis Hagi is a doubt after limping off at the weekend, while Alfredo Morelos in quarantine after representing Colombia at the Copa America and then enjoying a holiday in his homeland.