Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Side Wins on Aggregate against German Heavyweights

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Side Wins on Aggregate against German Heavyweights

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25 Feb 2022
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Borussia Dortmund

Rangers had to stay true to themselves when the going got tough attack was always the safest form of defense against a shaky Borussia Dortmund team hence a win.

Dortmund, who were favorites to win the championship, suffered a 4-2 defeat in the opening leg. They were better here even without Erling Haaland, who was wounded.

In a slog of a first leg, Rangers exposed their defensive flaws. There was a lack of sleek desire. Even yet, it wasn’t enough to prevent Scotland’s champions from reaching the last 16 for the third year in a row.

Rangers rode their luck at times in a tense, uncomfortable first half. A Dortmund goal would have turned Ibrox into a boiling pit of anxieties, and it was inches from happening in the first five minutes when Jude Bellingham, the great young Englishman, smacked the post from the game’s opening corner.

Rangers managed to stay alive in the end. After a shaky start to the game, the opening goal after 21 minutes felt like a prayer answered. James Tavernier’s shot from the spot in the Signal Iduna Stadium was aided by VAR.

When Julien Brandt dangled a lazy leg over Ryan Kent on the edge of the box as the winger was moving away from goal, the Spanish referee was confident enough in his own judgment to award the penalty. Tavernier, the captain, smashed the ball high into the net from 12 yards, leaving Gregor Kobel with little chance.

Dortmund came back to tie the game after only nine minutes. Dortmund equalized after half an hour thanks to a Connor Goldson blunder.

In yellow, Donyell Malen was a terror, his low whipped center unlikely to reach its intended target until Goldson swung at the clearance and played it right into the path of an unmarked Bellingham. There may be no *good* Dortmund player to give an easy chance to, but Bellingham’s misfortune was the worst of them. The kid scored past McGregor for a 1-1 draw, displaying technique and precision.

Minutes later, the Rangers squandered a two-goal chance to reclaim the lead. Scott Arfield had a break on the ball and sped past Dortmund’s defense. But his shot was blocked by Kobel. Even though, the loose ball fell to Morelos, who looked destined to get one step closer to Henrik Larsson in the Europa League until Mats Hummels blocked his rasping shot on the line.

How costly would the squandered opportunity have been if Dortmund had turned the game around before halftime? Everything went via Dutch attacker Donyell Malen, who was far sharper and more purposeful than they had ever been at home. However, Allan McGregor, a former PSV player, may have extended the aggregate lead before halftime.

A fizzing Malen shot from 18 yards forced the keeper to bend to push it away. He couldn’t stop Dortmund’s slick finish, which put them in front for the first time. When Bellingham flicked on a Brandt cross, Malen sent the ball low past McGregor from close range, the 3000 traveling fans erupted.

You could almost see the yellow team raise their nose and smell blood in the Glasgow air at that time.

When it appeared that Malen would make it three, he cut inside Tavernier and fired into the sidenetting. With the final action of the half, Thomas Meunier moved into space to guide a shot into the top corner, with McGregor at full stretch to keep Rangers’ heads above water once more. Rangers’ lone saving grace was their failure to score at least one more goal before halftime. The opportunity to reorganize and fix everything came at a good time, and it was eagerly accepted.

Rangers came out fighting after being under siege for so long. They pressed higher up the field and looked more dangerous in attack. They harassed and harassed their visitors, causing them to make blunders. They had a force of nature on their side in Morelos.

In the first few minutes, the striker bullied and tormented his opponents twice. He blasted into the side-netting the first time he went it alone. He snatched a looping ball from the air for the second and forced Kobel into a fantastic save. The Rangers’ support grew as a result of these initiatives.

After being caught in a psychological bind after the first leg, the Ibrox side did what they do best: they did what they do best. The best policy was always to attack a Dortmund team incapable of keeping kids away from a candy store.

After 57 minutes, James Tavernier scored his second goal of the night, which came as a result of an egregious error by experienced World Cup champion Mats Hummels.

Calvin Bassey’s brilliant perseverance on the left touchline resulted in a cross into the mixer. Hummels would have handled that with ease in his prime. Those days, based on these two games against Rangers, are long passed. The ball ran through to Tavernier, who blasted home from close range at the back post after completely missing it.

Rangers should have restored the lead – and settled the tie – 10 minutes later, and the roof nearly came off Ibrox.


Emre Can is being pushed to distraction. On the midway line, Morelos snatched the ball. The striker slid the ball sideways to Kent as he raced in on goal. The VAR authorities cautioned, “Not so fast.”

The Spanish referee walked to the pitchside monitor while Dortmund players screamed for a foul on Can, and Ibrox fell silent. Dortmund could breathe again after the goal was disallowed.

Replays later revealed that the Dortmund player, if anything, kicked Morelos. As a debate rages over the cost of bringing VAR to Scottish football, it’s a moment that’s certain to cement the view of some that it’s simply not worth it, whatever the cost.

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