4 Dortmund vs Rangers head to heads that will decide Europa League clash as Aaron Ramsey and Jude Bellingham square off

It’s the biggest European night Rangers have faced in years on Thursday as they travel to Germany to take on Borussia Dortmund.

And while it’s far from a favorable tie against the Bundesliga big-hitters, optimism is growing that Gio van Bronckhorst and his team can pick up a big result to take back to Ibrox.

Dortmund went into the game off the back of an inconsistent run of form though recovered from a 5-2 thrashing against Bayer Leverkusen with a convincing win over Union Berlin at the weekend.

And they go into the clash with Rangers without marquee star Erling Haaland who misses out the home leg with injury.

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Despite Haaland’s absence though there is star-studded quality all over the pitch and Rangers will have to make sure they win their individual battles to avoid defeat and go back to Ibrox with a fighting chance.

RecordSport have picked out four clashes that could decide the first leg in Dortmund.

Marco Reus v James Tavernier

Tavernier has come up against all manner of opponents in his seven seasons at Rangers.

Can anyone come close to the profile and ability of Dortmund stalwart Reus, though?

Marco Reus

Left-wing is his favorite position but the 48-time Germany cap could realistically be deployed all across the front line.

He’d have a World Cup winner’s medal in the cabinet if it wasn’t for a brutal injury and though Reus is now 32 there are no signs of him slowing down.

In fact he’s involved in roughly a quarter of all goals scored by BVB. With double figures in both goals and assists from out wide this term he’s been a top performer under Marco Rose.

After smashing two past Union Berlin from his preferred left-side berth expect him to line up there again.

And that leaves the Ibrox captain with one heck of a job to keep Reus quiet.

Dan-Axel Zagadou vs. Alfredo Morelos

Former Ger Nigel Spackman highlighted this matchup to RecordSport and it’s easy to see why.

Mats Hummels is lacking in speed with but remains an elite-level defender so it’s the man partnering him in defense the bustling and sharp Morelos should target.

That could well be Manuel Akanji but the Swiss centre-back is in line for an exit and was dropped after the 5-2 slaughtering at Bayer Leverkusen.

The younger Zagadou kept his place to take on Union Berlin alongside Hummels and the pair left the capital with a clean sheet and three points.

So keeping that pairing would make sense but Morelos can take advantage of a defending BVB fans see as inconsistent in his performances.

Alfred Morelos

Standing at 6 ft 5in, Zagadou is an imposing presence and Hummels is excellent in the air too so it would be best for Morelos to receive the ball to feet, using his strength and movement to pull his marker out of position to bring Ryan Kent and Amad Diallo into play from out wide and midfield runners like Joe Aribo.

Donyell Malen vs. Connor Goldson

A player of the condition and goalscoring progress as Erling Braut Haaland demands conversation.

Fans and pundits alike await to discover if one of the best strikers in the world will be lining up against the Light Blues.

But that won’t be the sole subject of discussion in the Auchenhowie video analysis rooms.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail and thus the leader at the heart of the Rangers defense will have been well-briefed on the other forward he could face on Thursday night.

Who partners Goldson is open for discussion – is Filip Helander fit enough for a fixture of this magnitude or will Calvin Bassey be called upon again by Van Bronckhorst?

But we know the Englishman is a shoo-in. If Malen is the man spearheading Dortmund’s attack he will need to be ready for a striker with serious pace – but one who has also been well off the boil in front of goal.

Three goals in six Champions League appearances this season show he’s capable on the continent.

But the same return over 21 Bundesliga matches is beyond poor.

Donyell Malen

Malen’s best quality is his creativity and ability to bring others into play, as he set up Reus’ second against Union at the weekend after notching three assists in one game against Hoffenheim.

Jude Bellingham vs. Aaron Ramsey

Youth vs experience comes into play for this midfield match-up.

18-year-old Bellingham is the Three Lions’ promising young cub but now he comes face to face with a man who has been there and done that for club and country.

Aaron Ramsay

Ramsey talked up the European ties on offer when he joined Rangers so he won’t be content with a place on the bench for this one.

He still might not be fully sharp and the chances of him lasting a full 90 against breakneck Borussia are slim given he departed after an hour at Annan.

Bellingham is brilliant in crowded areas and his quick feet at times seem more suited to a tricky wide player. That’s until he plays in a number six role where he’s rarely shy about getting stuck in and shows a surprising knack for the defensive side of the game too.

He’ll likely play further forward this week with anchor man Axel Witsel back in the frame.

Going from Annan to Dortmund will be like hopping onto a full-speed treadmill for Ramsey. Luckily for Rangers, he’s long been used to that kind of pace.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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