Gio van Bronckhorst’s side host Dutch team PSV on home soil before heading over to the Netherlands for the second leg next week.
They secured a place in this tie by overcoming Belgian outfit Union Saint-Gilloise in the last round, beating them 3-2 on aggregate after losing the first leg 2-0. The Gers will be hoping to avoid another defeat in the first match but will be looking for the same conclusion as they bid to make the group stages of the competition.
Rangers head into this clash with PSV off the back of a 4-0 win over St. Johnstone in the Premiership at the weekend, with Antonio Colak, Scott Arfield, Tom Lawrence, and Malik Tillman scoring the goals.
Van Bronckhorst may look to freshen his team up from that emphatic win, though, and one player he must bring back into the XI is winger Ryan Kent.
The former Liverpool man was absent at the weekend due to injury but is now fit and available to play against PSV tonight, which is why the Dutch head coach must unleash him from the start.
It may seem harsh on Rabbi Matondo, who was exceptional against St. Johnstone, but Kent has proven himself over the course of a number of seasons and is a player van Bronckhorst knows that he can rely upon in a game of this magnitude.
On Saturday, Matondo created four chances and registered two assists as he recorded the highest SofaScore rating (8.2) on the pitch. The winger, however, has never scored or assisted a goal in European competitions in his career to date.
Kent, on the other hand, has a track record of performing in Europe. The £18k-per-week maestro, who was dubbed “electric” by journalist Jacob Schneider earlier this year, produced one goal and seven assists in European competitions last season.
This included two assists in two Champions League qualifying matches and this shows that he has the ability to make a big impact in the final third at this level.
Therefore, he has the potential to be a match-winner for the Gers tonight because he has proven that he has the creativity to unlock defences in Europe.
This is why van Bronckhorst must now place his trust in the 25-year-old and select him from the start on the left wing in spite of Matondo’s impressive showing at the weekend.