With Rangers spilling two more points in the Scottish Premiership title race on Sunday, it’s fair to say their league defense has been blighted by inconsistency.
They had a stuttering start to the season in terms of performances and after a flying start under Giovanni van Bronckhorst have now shipped nine points since the winter break.
And the same goes for their Europa League rivals Borussia Dortmund who have also been a bit Jekyll & Hyde this season.
It’s why their 4-2 defeat to Rangers, while sending shockwaves across Europe, didn’t entirely come as a surprise to those who have been watching the Bundesliga side closely this season.
And the same goes for their emphatic response to the defeat to the Light Blues as they hit Gladbach for six in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Sebastian Kolsberger covers Borussia Dortmund for renowned German newspaper Bild and previewed Thursday’s second leg on the latest Record Rangers Podcast.
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He told how boss Marco Rose forced the players to watch a rerun of the Light Blues loss following the humiliating defeat.
Here, Kolsberger addresses some of the issues in the build up to the second leg at Ibrox.
“Everyone was embarrassed and frustrated. In the team meeting they showed the game, the highlights and were talking about it.
It wasn’t just the coach but everyone – especially key players like Mats Hummels and Marco Reus who all had their say.
The message was, ‘Come on, we still have a chance to progress.’ It’s just two goals and with the away goals rule scrapped everything is possible.
They said to each other they had a bad game and if anyone doesn’t want to bring 100 per cent and isn’t ready then they have to say and they will be out. They showed it on Sunday against Gladbach that they have the quality.”
“We have seen it often this season where they have struggled against smaller opponents such as second division St Pauli in the League Cup and Hertha BSC Berlin who were 17th in the league.
It’s happened because some players’ heads aren’t 100 per cent on the field.
Rangers played a good game, of course, and took their chances but Dortmund didn’t play their game and wren’t fully focused.
The result against Gladbach was something everyone expected because Dortmund play one good game, one bad game…
This is why everyone thought everything would be fine again against Gladbach. Some players had their head up and they’re in their comfort zone again.
They think they are going to Glasgow with self confidence but then you don’t know what will happen until the first five minutes of the match.
You know quickly if they will go hard or play holiday soccer against their opponents. The Gladbach result could be a risk, especially in terms of the mentality for Glasgow.”
Who impressed from Rangers?
“The captain James Tavernier played a very good game and Alfredo Morelos up front played very well.
The central midfielders were very good because they won the important fights against the Dortmund players.
They impressed me with how they played and they really wanted to win the game and Borussia Dortmund were ready.
When the draw was made all the Dortmund fans were happy. They thought it was an interesting draw but that they would expect to go into the next round. Everyone was surprised with the result.”
Marco Rose future
“Many fans after the game said that they should kick Marco Rose out and it should be his last game for Borussia Dortmund.
Last season we had Edin Terzic who won the League Cup and everyone, especially the fans, were satisfied with him.
But in March they decided Marco Rose would take over in the summer and not everyone understood why the CEO did this.
Many fans are now saying they need another coach because Marco Rose isn’t making the team better but reaching the Champions League is most important and they are 12 points clear of the fifth team in the league.
They decided to stick with Marco Rose for next season and if they get knocked out at Ibrox it won’t change anything – unless it’s 6-0!”
“Erling Haaland is working with the team doing some practice but is still questionable.
Dortmund won’t take risks with him because for Rose it’s more important to have him for the fight for Champions League qualification instead of Europa League.
The Gladbach result showed they can solve their problems without Erling Haaland. If Erling had played against Rangers the result would have been the same because the strikers were not the problem – it was the defense and defensive midfield.
It has happened with Dortmund that they have had as***** result so the feeling is that it wouldn’t have mattered if he played or not.”
“I think it will go to extra time. I say it will be 2-0 or 3-1 for Dortmund but at the end it will be a close.
Dortmund have been struggling with mentality so it will be tight but hopefully for me Borussia Dortmund will be in the next round.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.