Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst saluted his players as they sent Borussia Dortmund crashing out of the Europa League, describing the 6-4 aggregate victory as “a big moment for the club.”
Leading 4-2 after a stunning first-leg performance at Signal Iduna Park, the reigning Scottish Premiership champions endured a tense second leg at Ibrox.
Despite James Tavernier’s first-half penalty, Jude Bellingham and Donyell Malen reduced the aggregate deficit to a single goal before the break.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst told BT Sport:
“It is a big moment for the club; we can make a lot of people proud as it was a difficult game again.
“Rangers were miserable in some moments where we could have cleared the ball. We had to change something to be more defensively solid.
“[Alfredo] Morelos was much stronger in the second half, and we had many more dangerous moments.
“We trained with three different plans for today. But, first, we needed to create scenarios that we could implement, and I’m glad we did.
“We had excellent performance; we played them twice and got four points – it’s an outstanding performance.
“The last 16 is only top teams; we wait for them, and we look forward to the draw.”
Dortmund star Bellingham suggested he and his teammates only had themselves to blame:
“It was brilliant to play in. A good team, a good test,” the England international told BT Sport, having created a joint team-high three chances.
“We didn’t have the bite we had in the first half. It’s just one of those nights, we didn’t take all our chances, and they took theirs, fair play to them.
“We’ve let the fans, the staff and ourselves down. If we look at ourselves in the mirror, we’ll realise we could’ve done more.”
Bellingham is not wrong. Dortmund finished with higher expected goals (xG) than Rangers (2.97 to 2.26).
Two-goal Tavernier, meanwhile, revealed that a tactical reshuffle at the break proved instrumental for Rangers.
Rangers’ captain explained:
“We stepped up in the second half after we changed tactically. It allowed us to progress.
“The manager told us that we have to follow the runners and tighten it up a bit; that’s what we do in our back five systems, and it works for us.
“We are imposing, and the result was pleasing. I always try to get to the back post, and I got the goal today.
“This game shows the character that we have in the squad; we have a great squad that can push through.”
Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.