Bjorklund backs Rangers to progress against Malmo

Malmo forward Daniel Larsson
Malmo forward Daniel Larsson poses a threat, says Bjorklund

Joachim Bjorklund believes former club Rangers will have little trouble against Malmo in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

"I think Rangers go into the tie as big favourites," the Swede told BBC Scotland. "Malmo haven't been the same team as they were last season.

"Last season they were by far the best team in Sweden, this year they have been struggling.

"They have really had problems with lots of injuries."

Having played 16 league matches, last term's champions Malmo are trailing in eighth place in the Swedish Allsvenskan, 13 points behind leaders Helsingborgs.

But they progressed in Europe thanks to a 3-1 aggregate win over Faroe Islanders Torshavn.

The two-legged tie will begin at Ibrox on 26 July, with the away leg taking place the following week.

Rangers would face a further play-off game to reach the lucrative group stages.

Despite their poor domestic form this season, Bjorklund believes Malmo have two attacking players Rangers will need to keep a close eye on.

"The Brazilian Figueiredo is the key player," said the former international defender, capped 79 times for his country.

"He normally plays just behind the strikers and he's a really good player

"Daniel Larsson is also one of the quickest forwards in Sweden.

"I think they will try to play a bit defensive and try to hit Rangers on the counter."

Malmo, who lost the European Cup final to Nottingham Forest in 1979, were last in European action during the 2005/06 Uefa Cup.

Rangers open the defence of their Scottish Premier League title at home to Hearts on Saturday before taking on the Swedes.

But Bjorklund, who played at Ibrox for two seasons before a £2.5m move to Valencia in 1998, does not think rustiness will be a factor for his old club.

"That's always the case for the bigger leagues against Scandinavian teams and I don't think it should be any problem," he said.