James Tavernier struck twice as Rangers held Dortmund in this UEFA Europa League play-off second leg and progressed 6-4 on aggregate.
Those who expected a thriller at Ibrox were not to be disappointed. Jude Bellingham, who was outstanding in the first half, set the tone by hitting the post in the fifth minute but it was Rangers who struck first when Julian Brandt fouled Ryan Kent and Tavernier dispatched the resulting penalty.
Dortmund’s reaction was impressive. Bellingham made the most of a ricochet off Connor Goldson to sweep in the equaliser then, after Scott Arfield and Alfredo Morelos were denied at the other end, Donyell Malen prodded in from Bellingham’s back-heel just before the break.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side regrouped at the interval and made the decisive intervention when Tavernier drilled in following a Mats Hummels miscue. Marco Rose’s Dortmund rarely appeared likely to prise two more goals thereafter, the resilient Rangers defence roared on to the finish line by the fervent home support.
James Tavernier, Rangers captain: “I am delighted, especially the way we responded in the second half after the way the first half ended. You saw the quality of the players they have at the end of the first half. They put us under real pressure but we changed tactically in the second half and that really helped us, made us more solid between the lines and restricted them to a few chances.”
Ryan Kent, Rangers forward: “They had to chase the game, they needed the goals today. We knew they would come at us and that did leave spaces open for us to go and exploit them. We took two chances and maybe should have had a third.”
Jude Bellingham, Dortmund midfielder: “It was a brilliant game to play in. We didn’t have the bite we had in the first half. It’s just one of those nights. We didn’t take our chances, they took theirs and fair play to them. We have let the fans, the staff and ourselves down. If we look at ourselves in the mirror we’ll realise we could have done more over both legs.”
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