Long before full time, debate was under way regarding where this sits in a table of one-off results for Scottish teams in European competition. Success for Rangers against Borussia Dortmund is at least a valid part of the discussion. The visiting contingent inside Signal Iduna Park not only – and quite rightly – partied but realised this was an extraordinary occasion that will be spoken about for years to come.
Far from stealing victory, the Scottish champions were fully deserving of it; including by the two-goal margin. There may even be frustration for Giovanni van Bronckhorst that Rangers do not have more leeway before the second leg. Dortmund, earlier the Europa League favourites, are staring elimination square in the face. They were run ragged at times by Rangers’ display.
From Van Bronckhorst there was post-match stoicism. “This is a very good result against a big European team,” the Rangers manager said. “We know we are only at half way. We are not through to the next round.”
Indeed, Dortmund have the talent to turn this tie on its head in Glasgow. Erling Haaland, who missed this embarrassing loss through injury, could be back by then. “I can’t say that yet,” said the Dortmund manager, Marco Rose. “He did a little training yesterday but there is still some time to go. He also hasn’t played for quite a while. I don’t know.”
From Mats Hummels, the Dortmund centre-back, there was scathing assessment of what happened here. “We’re playing an awful lot of nonsensical football,” he said. “A lot of illogical football and making our opponents so strong.” It felt impossible to disagree.
Rangers clearly harboured no sense of trepidation. Spotting glaring weakness in the Dortmund defence is one thing, capitalising on it in the manner Rangers did quite another.
When Jude Bellingham curled a fine shot beyond Allan McGregor to reduce the Dortmund arrears to two goals, at 3-1, there was a lingering sense the German side may complete their comeback and restore a sense of natural order. Rangers were having none of that. Alfredo Morelos, who tormented the home defence all evening, strode forward to restore Rangers’ three-goal lead.
The final goal of six in the game belonged to Dortmund’s Raphaël Guerreiro, which changes the complexion of the tie ever so slightly. Rangers, though, must have belief they can puncture Dortmund’s shaky back line when roared on by a capacity Ibrox crowd.
An indication that this may be Rangers’ evening arrived within 10 minutes. Borna Barisic lacked conviction with a shot that was saved by Gregor Kobel. Ryan Kent, who enjoyed an outstanding evening, was the creator.
Brief panic, but only that, followed for Van Bronckhorst. Dan-Axel Zagadou had a simple task to head Dortmund in front from a corner but fluffed his lines. Bellingham flashed a pass across McGregor’s six-yard line that found no takers. That was as good as the first half got for Rose’s team, who were jeered off at the interval.
By that stage, a James Tavernier penalty and a Morelos tap-in had put Rangers on course for victory. Zagadou’s miserable evening continued when VAR correctly penalised him for handball. Tavernier did the rest from 12 yards. It was the Rangers captain’s corner, flicked on by Joe Aribo, that Morelos converted.
The pick of Rangers’ goals belonged to John Lundstram. The midfielder bent a shot out of Kobel’s reach from 22 yards after Kent laid the ball back into his path. At 3-0, Rangers were in dreamland. Bellingham, one of precious few Dortmund players who emerged with credit, duly had his say. Undeterred, Morelos survived a VAR check before celebrating a fourth. Zagadou was again involved, having deflected the ball on its way into the net. Dortmund had now conceded nine goals in two home outings. It could have been 10, Aribo’s shot instead flying agonisingly wide.
Dortmund claimed an element of salvation with a long-range Guerreiro effort. This gives them hope for the second leg. Based on this evidence, however, they cannot have much; the home support’s disgust towards their team was plain at full-time. “I am really proud of the performance,” Van Bronckhorst said. Rightly so. The Dutchman must wish the away goal rule was still in place.
Source: The Guardian