Happy Thursday, BVB fans! The Europa League is here and Dortmund is in it to win it. The Black and Yellows should be eager to collect what may be the last silverware available to them this season, and with a positive win at the weekend, the players and coaching staff should be raring to go in this home-field shootout.
The potential return of Gio Reyna is an exciting prospect, and much has been made of his connection to the visiting club. Gio will be hoping to make an impact on the game in front of his namesake, Giovanni Van Brockhorst, as well as mark his full return to football after his lengthy injury layoff. With Julian Brandt’s form tapering off and Thorgan Hazard leaving a bit to be desired on the training ground, Marco Rose will be eager to have the American Dream back at his disposal.
Rangers are coming off of three league wins, their last defeat to their perennial title rivals, Celtic. The two Scottish champs are slugging away at the top of the Scottish Premiership with only one point to separate them. Rangers know how to fight as they have been doing so all season; Dortmund needs to be prepared for the energy and tenacity the opponent will bring.
Do not look for Marco Rose to reinvent the wheel here. In a home game after an away win, the coach will be looking for some consistency. Rangers have serious counterattacking ability in Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, so expect Rose to do what he can to mitigate this threat in the same way he did against Union Berlin. We may see Emre Can come in for Axel Witsel, but the Belgian put in a solid shift at the weekend and could be rewarded with another start.
Some kind of flowy, interchange-y, midfield mix-up of Bellingham, Reus, and Reyna will be looking to combine with Donyell Malen to get in on goal.
Player to Watch
James Tavernier - 6 goals, 12 assists (all comp)
Rangers’ English right-back has had a late-career blossoming, putting in some of the best fullback performances in Europe the last two seasons. Tavernier has been excellent going forward, creating tons of chances for the Rangers attack. 12 assists from his position speak volumes of a player in a defensive role. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool can claim a similar honor, albeit with more matches played.
Sure, Haaland is out injured. Sure, the defense is a bit unorthodox. But frankly, Dortmund has no excuse to do anything other than leave it all on the field today. This is the trophy chance, this is the big game. Veterans need to step up and lead, youngsters need to strap up their boots and play to their fullest. No sulked shoulders, no half-hearted pressing. In their home stadium with the players that are on the field, Dortmund needs to get it done.