Rangers backed to dump Dortmund as former Ibrox hero delivers ‘always a chance’ Europa League message

The Yellow Wall might not be crumbling but Borussia Dortmund’s renowned southern terrace will have gaps galore when Rangers arrive at the Westfalenstadion.

And for former Ibrox midfielder Nigel Spackman that means his old side might never have a better chance of landing a damaging blow to leave the Bundesliga giants’ season in danger of collapse.

Due to German coronavirus rules just 10,000 supporters will be in the arena for the Europa League knockout round play-off first leg – and only 3000 in the ordinarily cacophonous 25,000 capacity stand that houses one of world football’s most powerful supports.

Understrength on the park where Erling Haaland is again expected to sit out. And understrength in the stands.

It’s no wonder Spackman – who has felt the power of European football’s largest terrace through his work as a Euro football co-commentator for BT Sport – reckons this is Rangers’ chance to take a sledgehammer to Dortmund’s status as tournament favourites.

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The Englishman will be taking his place in the gantry of another of the continent’s most esteemed ampi-theatres as Barcelona take on Napoli at the Nou Camp on Thursday.

But he’ll have one eye on events in Germany.

And he told RecordSport : “The Westfalenstadion is a really magnificent stadium with an amazing atmosphere.

“The volume of the Yellow Wall is incredible. It’s such a massive terrace of standing supporters behind the goal and it just seems like a wave of noise washing over the whole arena.

“The terracing goes on forever and I don’t know how the people actually see from the back of the stand!

“So without that backing then of course it’s got to be a benefit to Rangers on Thursday. I just can’t imagine it with just 3000 in that end.

“On one hand it’s a shame the players won’t get to experience it. But at the same time the absence of those fans is only going to work in Rangers’ favour.

“When Dortmund are doing well the Yellow Wall really does get behind the team.

“It’s just as important when they aren’t winning though. If Rangers were to go 1-0 up then the volume would turn up to a crescendo to drive Dortmund forward.

“So it’s a big bonus for Rangers that’s going to be missing and a real increase to their chances.

“And Rangers always stand a chance.

“Dortmund concedes goals. They play with a back four and they’ve conceded 36 goals in 22 games.

“They can switch off when you hit them on the counter. The central defender Dan-Axel Zagadou is one of those players who can be brilliant and then out of nowhere he makes a mistake.

“If the full-backs push on like they normally do then Rangers can try and exploit them in those areas with Ryan Kent ‘s pace and Alfredo Morelos ‘ form.”

All well and good then. But Dortmund have been installed as favorites to go on and lift the trophy for the first time for a reason.

Given the might of Barca, Sevilla, Napoli, Lyon, Leipzig to name just a few are still in there then it speaks volumes for the strength of Marco Rose’s squad.

They got their campaign back on track with a 3-0 win at Union Berlin on Sunday with Marco Reus taking his tally to 151 goals in 10 seasons with a double.

But after losing their grip on the DFB-Pokal Cup in a shock defeat to second tier St Pauli last month, the pressure is on the BVB to deliver silverware.

And the Europa League is now probably their best chance.

Spackman said: “They want to win things Dortmund. The crowd expect that and that’s the pressure they must live with.

“They do have real talent. Jude Bellingham in the middle of the park – what a player! He is destined for the very top level and I wouldn’t be surprised if top clubs come knocking for him in the summer.

Erling Haaland has been told to make a decision on his future with Man City interested in signing him in the summer (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer/GES-Sportfoto/Getty Images)

“Marco Reus just seems to get better like a fine wine. He is scoring goals, his movement off the ball is excellent and he can find a killer pass. He is in great shape.

“Donyell Malen has played through the middle with Haaland out and has pace to burn and strength. Play a high line and he can really take advantage.

“The big thing for Dortmund is getting Haaland on the pitch. Any team in the world would miss a center forward like him.

“It’s not looking likely he will make the first leg and he’s such a massive miss to them because the team function around him as a number nine and everything else works off of him.

“So that’s another boost for Rangers. Everyone knows that.

“Rangers just need to play on their underdogs tag and realize they can cause a big upset here.

“If Dortmund aren’t at it then you can definitely get at them.

“The big thing is to not be out of it for the return in Glasgow. Don’t be too open and don’t sit off them or it will be a long night.

“They have to get it right tactically unlike the performance at Celtic Park.

“That was one of the most underwhelming performances I’ve seen from Rangers.

“Hopefully lessons have been learned and with Morelos back and bang on it then they have a chance.

“A good run in Europe can really galvanize you so a good result in Dortmund can have double benefits.”


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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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