Disjointed Dortmund give Rangers real hope but Gio van Bronckhorst and Co must go on the attack – Jorg Albertz

When you roll the names off your tongue, it’s one superstar after another.

Erling Haaland, Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard, Jude Bellingham, Axel Witsel. The list goes on and on.

And each one of those Borussia Dortmund players are capable on their own of producing a bit of class to decide the Europa League tie with Rangers.

On their day, they can beat anyone in the world.

But even though there are so many big names on paper – on the pitch, they’re not a TEAM. And that’s what should give Rangers hope ahead of Thursday night’s first-leg clash.

What’s missing from Borussia Dortmund right now – and it has also been evident in the Bundesliga – is that they’re not playing together yet.

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They are nine points behind Bayern Munich. But with that squad, they were one of the favorites for the title.

And they’re not producing the results they need to put enough pressure on Bayern.

Their coach Marco Rose, who came in from Borussia Moenchengladbach, is outstanding.

But it just hasn’t clicked for them. Maybe the players don’t understand Rose’s philosophy. But Dortmund’s players look down at the moment, I can see it.

If you don’t show them too much respect and put them under pressure, you can cause them problems. I wouldn’t say there are issues in the dressing-room. They have a good mix of youth and experienced players.

But individually, they aren’t playing to their potential and when that happens you can’t function properly as a team.

If Haaland, Reus and Hazard are all firing and on form, you’ve a big problem.

But that’s not happening right now, as you saw in their last game when they lost 5-2 to Bayer Leverkusen.

You can have all the big names and big-money signings you want.

But that doesn’t mean the underdog can’t win. And if Rangers play as a unit on the pitch, they can win.

Haaland will obviously be the biggest threat, if he’s fit. I’ve seen him up close and he’s a MONSTER, in a positive way.

He’s the type of player every club in Europe would want in their team.

And the scary thing is that he’s still a young boy who can develop even more. We haven’t seen the best of Haaland yet.

His scoring record at Dortmund is phenomenal. And the future is all his.

He will eventually take over from Robert Lewandowski as the world’s top striker.

But he’s still a young guy. Will all the attention go to his head? What’s his next move from him? Will it work for him at his next club?

There are loads of different factors with him. But if everything goes to plan, in a few years he’ll be up there with the best players around.

Haaland is a fighter. He’s a rock, a huge guy and lightning fast across the ground.

And of course, if he has a good night on Thursday, he’ll give us problems.

But a club like Rangers ALWAYS has a chance. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing. Gio van Bronckhorst and his team have answered a few questions after the poor result and performance against Celtic.

They’re not any further behind in the table and served to beat Hearts and Hibs at Ibrox.

It’s been a great response from the boys. And they’re back on track now ahead of the Dortmund game.

They need a positive result in Germany to take back to Glasgow. Because with 50,000 at Ibrox for the second leg, it gives Gers an advantage.

If we’re still in the tie, it could be a beautiful night with a fantastic atmosphere.

As a player going to Dortmund, I’d rather play in front of 80,000 fans instead of 10,000. That was just my character, it’s why I loved going to a full Celtic Park for example. But every player is different. And with the stadium at capacity, you’re under pressure so it can work both ways.

The important thing is that Rangers give themselves a chance in Dortmund.

I wouldn’t sit back against this team. They’re vulnerable at the back and they make mistakes.

On the counter attack, if Rangers can create chances – especially with Alfredo Morelos on form – they can get success.

Morelos will be a huge threat to Dortmund. But if you allow them to play and get comfortable on the ball, it’s going to be tough.

I was involved last time the clubs played against each other in 1999.

Dortmund also had a good team back then, with the likes of Andy Moller, Fredi Bobic, Lars Ricken and Jurgen Kohler. They’ve always had top players. But we beat them 2-0 at Ibrox. We scored a magnificent passing goal through Rod Wallace – it was a brilliant night.

We went to Germany and lost on penalties. But I’ll always remember the Rangers fans who stayed in the stadium afterwards. They were unbelievable.

No club, whether they’re from England, Italy, Germany or wherever, wants to be drawn against the Old Firm in Europe.

They all look forward to the atmosphere in Glasgow. But don’t believe for a minute that Dortmund are thinking: “Brilliant, we’ve got Rangers – we’re through.”

There is a respect for Rangers and Celtic in Europe. I’ve seen that in Germany and people here don’t view this as an easy tie.

At the same time, if Borussia Dortmund don’t think they can win the Europa League, there’s something wrong. With the squad they have, their target is to actually lift the trophy.

That shows the size of the task facing Rangers. But it doesn’t mean we can’t go through.


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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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