Trainer Adrie Koster believes that his players should especially enjoy Willem II’s first European home game since 2005. The Tilburg team will meet the Scottish record champion Rangers FC on Thursday in the third heat of the Europa League.
“European matches are special matches. After the victory over Heracles, this match became even more alive for players and trainers”, said Koster at his press conference on Wednesday. “We want to enjoy it, but more importantly, we win. We certainly see an opportunity against the Rangers for that.”
Willem II, who lost the last European home game in 2005 with 1-3 against AS Monaco, convincingly settled last Wednesday in the second heat of the European club tournament with the Luxembourg Niedercorn (0-5).
In Rangers FC, trained by Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, the Eredivisionist will encounter an opponent of a different caliber, Koster acknowledges. “They play well-kept football and make a lot of position changes. We have to be alert to that. We are not going to adapt to the opponent. We play the system we are used to, everyone feels most at home there.”
Koster does not want to speak of a home advantage now that the Koning Willem II Stadium has to remain empty for the duel with Rangers. “Of course we would have liked our great supporters there, but it is well known why we have to play under these circumstances. Maybe it is an advantage that everything is known to us here, but let’s not place too much value on that. “
Willem II-Rangers FC starts on Thursday at 9 p.m. The winner of the game will qualify for the play-offs, in which Galatasaray or Hajduk Split will be the opponent on October 1. Whoever passes the play-offs will reach the main tournament of the Europa League.
Willem II convincingly settled last week with the Luxembourg Niedercorn in the second heat of the Europa League. (Photo: Pro Shots)