Christian Nerlinger fires Rangers warning as he claims Eintracht Frankfurt wear ‘a different pairs of shoes’ in Europe


They’ve stomped all over the best the Bundesliga has had to offer.

But former Rangers star Christian Nerlinger has warned Rangers they will have to watch their step in Seville if they are to complete a remarkable hat-trick against German opposition on their way to Europa League glory.

Having dumped knockout round foes Borussia Dortmund from the competition before wrestling RB Leipzig from the last four, Gio van Bronckhorst’s men are just 90 minutes away from completing their fantasyland adventure.

All that stands in their way is a winner-takes-all shoot-out with Eintracht Frankfurt and an Ibrox fanbase who have already witnessed their side perform the unimaginable now believe they are on the verge of realizing their destiny.

Having taken care of business against a Dortmund outfit sitting second only to perennial German champions Bayern Munich and a Leipzig side who could still pinch a top-four finish, they strongly fancy themselves to see off Oliver Glasner’s team – currently languishing 11th in the Bundesliga standings 14 points behind the fifth-placed Leipzig.

But ex-Ibrox ace Nerlinger had a nice way of summing up those looking to contrast Frankfurt’s faltering domestic displays against their exhilarating European exploits, insisting they’d be as well comparing a pair of brown brogues with boat shoes.

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They may fit the same foot but the end look can be vastly different.

And Nerlinger insists the Slipper Kickers have already proved they can walk the walk on the continent.

Asked if Gers should be confident in taking on a team trailing so far behind their previous German conquests, Nerlinger told RecordSport : “Well, Bayern Munich fans said the same when they came up against Villarreal. They were eighth in La Liga but it was Bayern who were knocked out.

“But European football and league football are two different pairs of shoes.

“Frankfurt may not be so high in the Bundesliga but they have done really well in the Europa League, knocking out Barcelona and now West Ham.

“In the end, this final will come down to 90 minutes and there’s lots of pressure on that. It’s about how you handle it.

“Frankfurt is a very tactical team. They’ve had a few changes at the beginning of the season with the sporting director and the coaching staff.

“They had a difficult start but Oliver Glasner knows how to win games.

“You saw the amazing scenes after the game with the fans on the pitch, so it will be an amazing finale.

“For me, it’s a 50-50 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go all the way to extra time and penalties.

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“But for me the crucial thing for both managers is to tell the players to ignore the pressure and enjoy the day. Making it this far is special, so take it all in.”

Christian Nerlinger

The secret is out on Gers and Frankfurt will have no excuses for being caught off guard by van Bronckhorst’s squad after seeing the Ibrox men dispense with their countrymen for the second time.

But Nerlinger said: “There is no way Frankfurt will take Rangers lightly after seeing what they did to the other German teams.

“But believe me, neither did Leipzig. I know Domenico Tedesco very well and he did not underestimate Rangers.

“It was a huge game for them as they look to win their first ever title in the club’s history.

“They put everything into it but Rangers deserved to go through over the two games, which I congratulate the whole club for.”

The Rangers legions may have resisted the urge to spill onto the pitch like the Frankfurt faithful as the final whistle blew on their semi-final win over West Ham but the frenzy and the passion sweeping round Ibrox was no less powerful.

However, Nerlinger insists it would be a disservice to the calm and control van Bronckhorst’s troops showed amid the mania to credit the old place’s latest Euro epic night as the deciding factor on a famous victory.

He said: “Rangers making it to a big European final is an unbelievable achievement.

“There’s always a big question about how Scottish teams can compete in Europe but this Rangers team play incredible football.

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“They have a coaching team with Gio van Bronckhorst and Roy Makaay who understand the DNA of Scottish football and Rangers.

“On top of that, they have a firm grasp on the structures of modern football and when you put that together with a team that is committed and a place as special as Ibrox it gives you something extraordinary.

“Ibrox is one of the biggest, the loudest arenas in world football.

“There’s the Nou Camp, there’s the Bernabeu and Ibrox should be seen in the same light.

“For me, playing there is still one of my most cherished experiences of my football career. It’s really special.

“But a stadium doesn’t automatically give you the key to success.

“The stadium can give the players such a push but at the same time, if you have a team that doesn’t know how to work or how to handle the pressure it can always work against them.

“So you need everything to work together and at the moment, they way Rangers are playing against top-class opposition – and for me Dortmund and Leipzig are Champions League squads – is amazing.

“I can only imagine what’s going on in the city right now. It must be one big party.”


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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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