Rangers are through to the last-16 of the Europa League after completing the job they started at Dortmund, holding the German giants to a 2-2 draw on an unbelievable night at Ibrox to prevail 6-4 on aggregate.
After running out convincing 4-2 winners in the first leg, Rangers scored an early goal to put daylight between the teams when the cool James Tavernier tucked away a perfect penalty after Ryan Kent was fouled inside the box.
However, perhaps that was the wake-up call Dortmund needed as just nine minutes later Jude Bellingham drew the German giants level on the night, pouncing on a poor Connor Goldson clearance.
Goalscorer Bellingham then turned provider, flicking Julian Brandt’s pass into the path of Donyell Malen, who slotted past Callum McGregor to give Dortmund a 2-1 lead at half-time, reducing Rangers’ aggregate lead to a single goal.
Rangers boss Giovanni Van Bronckhorst made a much-needed tactical change at the break as he moved to a back-five and the switch paid dividends when skipper Tavernier grabbed his second of the night, meeting Calvin Bassey’s cross on the half-volley to send Ibrox wild.
The Gers had wrestled back control of the game and when Ryan Kent had the ball in the back of the net a short while later, it seemed the tie was over. However, the goal was controversially ruled out following a VAR check for a questionable Alfredo Morelos foul.
In the end it mattered little as Rangers, cheered on by their raucous support, failed to let such injustice deter them as they held on comfortably for a result that will live long in the memory of everyone connected to the club.
TALKING POINT – RANGERS HOLD THEIR NERVE TO KNOCK OUT COMPETITION FAVOURITES
After beating Dortmund 4-2 in the German giant’s backyard – one of the greatest night in the club’s history – Rangers held their nerve and completed the job. The momentum of the tie had switched in Dortmund’s favour by half-time as they deservedly led on the night to cut Rangers’ aggregate lead to just a goal. However, Van Bronckhorst has to be commended for the tactical changes he made at the interval, moving to a back five and his side duly responded.
Rangers have scored six goals against the competition’s favourites, a club they have no right to compete with in a financial sense. Former boss Steven Gerrard worked wonders here but it feels like Van Bronckhorst has the potential to move this club to the next level.
His counterpart Marco Rose has much to ponder after two underwhelming performances, but he will have to find a way for his title-chasing side to make a rapid recovery as they visit Augsburg on Sunday in another must-win game.
MAN OF THE MATCH – JAMES TAVERNIER (RANGERS)
The man who always produces the big moments in the big games, Tavernier led by example with two goals after also netting in last week’s triumph. His goalscoring record from full-back is astonishing and now he’s producing against Europe’s best.
Rangers: McGregor 6, Tavernier 9*, Goldson 6, Bassey 7, Barisic 6, Jack 7, Lundstram 7, Aribo 7, Arfield 7, Kent 8, Morelos 7.. subs: Balogun 7, Kamara 6.
Dortmund: Kobel 7, Schulz 6, Can 5, Hummels 5, Meunier 5, Dahoud 6, Bellingham 8, Brandt 6, Hazard 5, Reus 6, Malen 7.. subs: Moukoko 5, Reinier 5, Tigges 5, Witsel N/A, Wolf 5.
22′ – GOAL! RANGERS 1-0 DORTMUND (JAMES TAVERNIER, PEN) 5-2 ON AGGREGATE: Tavernier steps up, Kobel dives to his left and the Rangers captain slots the ball right down the middle. A superb penalty!
31′ – GOAL! RANGERS 1-1 DORTMUND (JUDE BELLINGHAM) – 5-3 ON AGGREGATE: Poor defensive work from Rangers and Bellingham takes full advantage as Dortmund draw level on the night! Goldson fails to clear inside the box, it falls kindly to the England international and he makes no mistake, slotting it past McGregor at his near post.
42′ – GOAL! RANGERS 1-2 DORTMUND (DONYELL MALEN) – 5-4 ON AGGREGATE: The momentum in this match is shifting as Dortmund lead! Brandt rolls a ball across the box, Bellingham flicks it on and Malen is perfectly positioned to tap it home. Just a goal separates the sides on aggregate now!
57′ – GOAL! RANGERS 2-2 DORTMUND (JAMES TAVERNIER) 6-4 ON AGGREGATE: Unbelievable scenes at Ibrox! Tavernier races to the back post in anticipation of Bassey’s cross and it’s great technique as he fires his half-volley past Kobel! Rangers’ dream is alive!
68′ – RANGERS GOAL DISALLOWED! Wow, what a big decision this is! Ally McCoist on BT Sport commentary calls it scandalous! Morelos robs Can, races through on goal and rolls it to Kent for a tap-in. It goes to VAR and after a lengthy check the goal is disallowed! Morelos is adjudged to have fouled Can but that is… harsh.