The Rangers v Bursaspor: Match Preview.

Last updated : 29 September 2010 By Northampton Loyalist.

What can be said about Bursaspor that has not already been covered on these boards? Lots, really. The standing of the Turkish side in European football is one that sees them as a virtual unknown to even the most learned of poster. The 'Green crocodiles' were formed in 1963, an amalgam of 5 local sides in the Turkish city of Bursa. Their badge reflects this with 5 different coloured stars featuring heavily. While Rangers' stars represent ten league titles each, Bursaspor's are each coloured from one of the teams who joined to create the new side. The founders of the new side chose an unfortunate theme for their strips, however, and the first team kit is solid green with the away kit being a horrid green and white hooped effort.

Bursaspor have only twice before entered European competition. Their first outing came three years after Rangers' famous victory in Barcelona and in the same competition. Finn Harps and Dundee United were swept aside in the early rounds before eventual winners Dinamo Kiev knocked them out in the Quarter Finals. Their next foray into the continental scene did not come for a further decade and when it did, they were again in the European Cup Winners Cup. Ajax saw them off comfortably in the first round.

Rangers will host the Turkish side in what will only be Bursaspor's tenth game in all European competition, the ninth being a heavy four goals to nil defeat at home against Valencia. Bursaspor reached the groups stage of the Champions league due to their first domestic top flight title win, pipping heavyweights Fenerbahçe by a single point in the Super Lig.

Bursaspor have a squad which includes only 9 players who are not Turkish nationals and despite claims by Sir Alex Ferguson that they have spent over £100 million in recent times, seems to be made up for the most part by shrewd free transfers or with little outlay being made on their playing staff. They have made a great start to the season domestically but there are more than a few avenues Rangers can and hopefully will exploit.

As research for this article I took in (on my computer) Bursaspor's recent game at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium against Galatasaray. The visitors came away with a 0-2 victory but the truth of the matter is that they were under near constant pressure and looked, despite the clean sheet, like they could have conceded 4 or 5 without complaint. Their back line was nearly constantly out of shape and looked nervous under pressure from high balls. Bursaspor were, however, very good in midfield, with several penetrating counter attacks and some decent passing being shown.

Tonight's game will probably see both sides approach the battle in a tentative manner and I can see Rangers giving up possession in the middle of the park in order to try and draw the Turks forward. This is a tactic which we should be well used to by now as it mirrors those used in domestic football against the more stubborn of defenders. The pace and power of Miller up front will certainly cause them problems and if Naismith can continue his fine attacking work he should have joy both on the deck and in the air. Rangers full backs will be key in the game with a burden of defence against penetrating runs but a need to get forward as much as possible. If Papac and Whittaker or Broadfoot are able to lend a hand in the forward third, their contribution could be a deciding factor in the game.

Rangers have not beaten Turkish opposition since 1973 when MKE Ankaragücü were the opposition and we have not won a game in Europe at Ibrox since 2008 (Werder Bremen) so this game represents a few good opportunities for the Ibrox team; A fantastic all round performance against Manchester United has given Rangers a platform to open up a four point lead over the Turks in the race for third, It also gives us a great chance of sitting second in the group with the Mancunians visiting Spain for their toughest game in the group. A Rangers win guarantees us second spot after two games and while there will be a distance to travel, that is a start that should stand us in good stead for progression to at least the Europa League.

Key men



A somewhat shaky performance against Aberdeen will need to be quickly forgotten and normal service resumed. If Majid can add something to our attack as well, that could see us over the line.


In white-hot form the striker is playing the best football of his career to date. Ten domestic goals see him top the charts but we need to see more in Europe and a home game against lower seeds gives him the chance to prove he can keep up this form on any stage.


Ivan Ergic

Deep lying midfielder with a wealth of experience. More than capable of breaking up play but likes to get forward at pace and has good vision to create for others. He carries a goal threat on top of this and will need to be watched closely (Scored both goals in the aforementioned victory over Gala)

Volkan Sen

Pacy right winger with a fantastic ability to create space for a cross. Not so good going back and if Papac can keep a leash on him, a big attacking option for the Turks will be nullified.


An ever-confidant supporter, 2-0 Rangers