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Foootball: Vogel's misfortunemay be to Rangers' advantage

THE SWISS international Johann Vogel is in danger of missing PSV Eindhoven's Champions' League match against Rangers tonight.

The 22-year-old midfielder suffered a muscle strain in the 6-1 mauling of Willem II at the weekend. He trained this morning, but felt pain afterwards, and the coach, Eric Gerets, said: "I am pessimistic about his chances of playing."

Vogel was targeted by some of Europe's top clubs in the summer when his departure from Grasshopper Zurich was imminent.

He chose PSV because he wanted to try Dutch football since his father is a big fan of Johan Cruyff. Vogel, in fact, wears the number 14 shirt, in tribute to one of the Netherlands' greatest footballing names.

His absence would be a big blow for PSV who, like Rangers, have a 100 per cent domestic league record, with five wins out of five, but have not mirrored that form in Europe.

However, Gerets has been boosted by the return to full fitness of the Belgian striker Luc Nilis. He is set to partner pounds 15m-rated Ruud Van Nistelroy in the front line.

Gerets knows just how important tomorrow's game is, with both sides having one point from their opening two games in Group F.

"Without a shadow of a doubt this is a crucial match for both sides," he said.

"I think we have deserved better but we have only one point to show from two games, which means we simply have to beat Rangers.

"I feel satisfied at the moment because the team is improving tactically despite the absence of a few key players.

"So I think we deserve to be where we are in the league table at the moment."

But Gerets warned: "Don't forget the Rangers coach [Dick Advocaat] was here for a good few years and knows PSV like he knows his own pocket."