Rangers will host Borussia Dortmund on Thursday evening in the Europa League knock-out stages, hoping to replicate their first-leg performance, which earned them a scintillating 4-2 win at Signal Iduna Park. The Scottish giants are in a comfortable position going into the tie, but they can’t afford to take their feet off the paddle just yet as the Germans sent out a warning sign demolishing Borussia Monchengladbach 6-0 last weekend.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst saw his team running riot at Signal Iduna Park last week and cruising to a 4-0 lead. James Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos brought a two-goal advantage for the visitors at the break. John Lundstram made it 3-0 only four minutes after the restart, and five minutes later, Dan-Axel Zagadou conceded an own goal, making the chances of a BVB comeback incredibly slim.
While Bronkhorst will not be happy about the two late goals the home side scored, the ex-Arsenal and Barcelona star would be delighted to have a two-goal safeguard. The Gers’ form at the Ibrox also serves as an added inspiration for the home team. The Rangers are in a nine-game winning streak at the arena and have scored 22 goals in those matches, conceding none.
History also seems to be on Rangers’ side. Only one team failed to progress into the next stage of the Europa League after a two-goal win in the first leg. Real Betis are the only unfortunate team to do so. Unsurprisingly, Rangers will not be eager to follow suit. In their previous three meetings with Borussia Dormund, Rangers claimed the bragging rights twice, while BVB won the other one.
Aaron Ramsey, who joined the Scottish Premiership side from Juventus in January, will sit out Borussia Dortmund’s visit as he is nursing a knock. Amad Diallo, who arrived on loan from Manchester United, might have to stay content with another bench appearance since Scott Arfield and Ryan Kent are set to reprise their winger roles.
Borussia Dortmund have been struggling for consistency in recent times. In their last six matches in all competitions, they have won three and lost three. But the 6-0 thumping of Borussia Monchengladbach will give them renewed hope of flipping the tie around on Thursday.
Goals from Jude Bellingham and Raphael Gurreiro in the reverse fixture handed a lifeline to the Bundesliga side. Since UEFA have canceled the away goal rule this season, a two-goal win at the Ibrox will be enough to take the tie to extra time; a three goal win will allow BVB to advance to the next stage of the competition.
Borussia Dortmund’s European form has been quite underwhelming, however. Their head coach, Marco Rose, will be wary of this fact and would hope that his team will have a better run of luck this time around.
The away side will be without their prolific striker Erling Haaland. The Norwegian stayed in Germany to continue his recovery from a groin injury. Dan-Axel Zagadou, who scored an own goal in the reverse fixture, will be out with a thigh injury. Manuel Akanji will miss out because of a calf problem, while Marcel Schmelzer and Mateu Morey are recuperating from their knee injuries. Thomas Meunier has regained fitness after picking up a muscle problem, and is in contention to start.
The absence of Halaand will be a massive boost for Rangers, but Borussia Dortmund still have enough ammunition to seal a victory at the Ibrox. However, it might not be enough to win the tie on aggregate.
We believe the match will end in a 2-1 victory for Borussia Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund to win @ 1.85.