Ahead of Rangers’ crucial Champions League qualifier with Servette, we caught up with Swiss football journalist Valentin Schnorhk for an in-depth insight into the Ibrox club’s opponents.

Here is everything he had to say.

What's Servette's recent history?

A bit like Rangers, Servette have had a similar history because in 2015 they were relegated to the third division. They almost went bankrupt but with new owners and new history was created. It’s the fifth season that Servette has been back in the top division. Servette is a historical club of Swiss football because they’ve won the league 17 times, only Grasshoppers and Basel have done better. Since they returned to the first division, they’ve been improving almost every season. Last season, they came second in the Super League. This summer a new trainer has arrived, Rene Weiler. He used to be the coach of Anderlecht, he became a champion with them in 2017, he used to coach at Nuremberg in Germany and has coached in Israel, Egypt, and Japan. He has begun to build a team that is very vertical. They try to play long balls toward Chris Bedia, Enzo Crivelli, or Jeremy Guillemenot who are the main strikers of the team. Crivelli is suspended against Rangers because he was sent off against Genk but Servette is a team with a lot of intensity, always looking to challenge for second balls, they are a direct team. Servette has already played three games in the Super League. It started with a win against Grasshoppers before two draws against FC Zurich and Stade Lausanne Ouchy.

How big a surprise was the win over Genk?

It was a huge surprise. Servette have been playing in the Conference League and Europa League in recent seasons but they have never played in the Champions League in their history. Genk was seen as the main favourites but after the 1-1 draw in the first leg at home the confidence grew. The second leg was pretty impressive. Some supporters were hoping Servette could do it but after Enzo Crivelli was sent off after five minutes and Genk scored the first goal, everybody thought it was over. It was pretty unprecedented to qualify because Swiss teams are not used to recording big results in Europe, particularly against big teams, and better teams like Genk.

How big a task will beating Rangers be?

Rangers are a better team than what we have in Switzerland and Ibrox is a huge stadium for a Swiss club. Servette is not used to playing in front of 50,000 people but with this great result against Genk, there is growing hope in Geneva around Servette. We hope that Servette can achieve another huge result and get through. The second leg will be full at the stadium. It’s never happened since the very first game in 2003. There will be around 25,000 people there but it doesn’t compare to what it will be like at Ibrox.

How will Servette approach the game?

They will be defensive but you have to take into account that Servette has a lot of injuries and very important players. You’ve got the goalkeeper and the captain of the club, Jeremy Frick who was great against Genk, he is injured. Miroslav Stevanovic who is a Bosnian international has been injured for two weeks and I don’t think he will be available, at least for the first leg. You also have Alexis Antunes, a midfielder, and right-back Keigo Tsunemoto out injured as well as Enzo Crivelli who is suspended so it will be difficult to know exactly how Servette will line up. They won’t be very offensive, I’m not expecting them to adopt a high press. I predict Servette will be conservative in the first leg.

READ MORE: Servette scouted: Profiling Rangers' Champions League opponents

Who is the danger man?

There is one main player for Servette since he arrived at the club in 2018, and that is Timothe Cognat who is a French midfielder. He used to be a young player at Olympique Lyonnais. He won the Under-19 Euros as captain of the French team and for Servette he is important as he is an offensive midfielder, is able to run a lot, is a box-to-box player, and is technically gifted. Against Genk, he scored Servette’s first goal with a deflected free-kick.

Do you have a prediction?

Rangers are a strong team and Servette has a lot of injuries and suspensions so I hope a 1-0 or a 2-1 win for Rangers would keep the tie alive for the second leg.