Borussia Dortmund want to scratch a Euro itch by lifting the only UEFA club competition that has so far eluded them.
And to do that they will have to see off rivals from the city where they won their first European trophy – and became the first German club to do so – when they beat Liverpool in the 1966 European Cup Winners’ Cup final at Hampden Park.
UEFA’s second tier competition is the only major European trophy the 1997 Champions League winners have failed to win so far.
But their desire to beat Rangers and move a step closer to winning this season’s Europa League comes more from just wanting to add the trophy to their collection.
Instead, the club’s €70 million debt makes it more of a necessity to go all the way to Seville and that will see them under real pressure when they face Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Gers.
The Scottish Premiership champions head to the Signal Iduna Park where only 10,000 fans will be allowed inside the 80,000 capacity stadium.
The lack of fans during the pandemic has hit their finances hard for a club that flirted with bankruptcy previously.
Borussia Dortmund specialist writer and president of the BVB London supporters club, Benjamin McFadyean, spoke to the Record Rangers podcast ahead of the mouthwatering tie for the low down on the Bundesliga giants and he highlighted the cash issues.
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Dortmund are €70 million in debt at the moment. This is a club that doesn’t do debt and have since 2005 when they almost went bankrupt in 2005.
They have managed the club very conservatively but they have dropped out of the Champions League and have been playing virtually behind closed doors for two seasons.
That’s why they have only spent £25 million this season and the people who run the club will be biting their finger nails and absolutely committed to getting into the next round of the Europa League – they pretty much have to.
From a financial point of view they have to get through, want to get through and will be throwing everything at it.
Dortmund have the highest gate of any football club in the world. They have an average gate of 80,000 and 55,000 season ticket holders.
Unlike the UK, very large amounts of income is derived from ticket sales and Borussia Dortmund having to play this season and last season more or less behind closed doors means a massive amount of revenue has been lost.
The club have managed to accumulate debt in spite of being very conservative in terms of the spending in the past two seasons.
It’s an unexpected situation to be in. Some of the sponsors have been affected and they have been working frankly to recover.
The fact Napoli and Barcelona have been drawn together weakens the next round but Borussia Dortmund could beat RB Leipzig most days.
Seville are the record holders of this competition and I’d say Dortmund could make the last four but Rangers is a big test.
You also have to remember this is the only European trophy they haven’t won. They won the Champions League in 1997 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1966.
But they’ve twice lost in the final of the UEFA Cup – in 2002 to Feyenoord and 1993 against Juventus so they’re keen to add that.
Borussia Dortmund have a new manager as of this season in Marco Rose who came from Borussia Monchengladbach.
They are a team in transition but the expectations of Dortmund fans are always absolutely massive.
The problem is that the team is disjointed and unbalanced in terms of the players in the current squad.
Rose hasn’t been able to make his stamp on the squad and can be exposed when teams put a lot of pressure on them – like Bayer Leverkusen who scored five recently.
If Rangers approach this very robustly and try to attack – of course they have to be careful of the counter attack – then Dortmund are reasonably vulnerable defensively.
I’d like to see BVB progress but I wouldn’t rule out Rangers putting in a good performance.
Mats Hummels a legendary German international – it’s his second stint at Dortmund – but can be a little slow off the mark at center back.
They are left fairly exposed to teams that play a high press, counter attacking football so it should be a fairly balanced tie over two legs.
You could expect 3000 in the famous Yellow Wall on Thursday and the club’s SLO is picking fans very carefully for that.
They will be looking to make as much noise as possible. Dortmund is a very noisy and raucous crowd at the best of times and there will be a good atmosphere.
They will sing throughout the whole game and it’s just a pity the Rangers fans won’t see the real deal but there will be a great atmosphere.
You have to remember Germany is far behind in terms of the pandemic cycle and we still have a lot of measures Rangers fans will have to be aware of.
You can’t just go into bars, restaurants and hotels without having been boosted. It’s a very different situation than in the UK at the moment.
Borussia Dortmund aren’t taking anything lightly. Basically, people are aware they are the current champions and Giovanni van Bronckhorst is an exceptional coach.
He knows the German scene well and history shows Rangers have done well in this tie in 1982, 1997 and 1999.
I’d be very keen to see how Kemar Roofe does as he comes from Oxford United – my home team!
It’s going to be a tricky tie. Aaron Ramsey is a player who is so well known and there’s no way Dortmund will be complacent.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.