The German Cup holders meet the champions of Scotland as Borussia Dortmund host Rangers in the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off first leg.
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The German Cup holders meet the champions of Scotland as Borussia Dortmund host Rangers in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs.
• Dortmund's sixth successive season in the UEFA Champions League group stage proved less successful than the previous three as they failed to make further progress, finishing third in Group C behind Ajax and Sporting CP on nine points, the same number as the Portuguese champions. Rangers clinched a UEFA Europa League knockout phase berth with a game to spare, finishing runners-up to Lyon in Group A with eight points, one more than Sparta Praha.
• Rangers hold the upper hand in previous meetings between the clubs, winning three of the eight matches to Dortmund's one, though the Bundesliga side's sole victory came in the most recent encounter, in the third round second leg of the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which they won 2-0 to level the tie before also prevailing 3-1 on penalties. The three previous matches between the clubs in Germany had all ended in draws, with Rangers winning the first two knockout ties.
• Dortmund are undefeated in seven home games against Scottish teams (W4 D3), keeping clean sheets in six of them, the only goals conceded coming in a 2-2 draw against Rangers in the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League group stage. This is their first visit from a Scottish club this century.
• Rangers have faced German opposition on 47 occasions with the record W16 D14 L17. They have won just three of their 23 away fixtures (D8 L12), losing seven of the last eight (D1). Their last win in Germany was a 2-1 success at Bayer Leverkusen in the second round first leg of the 1998/99 UEFA Cup, current boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst scoring the first of the two goals in a tie that Rangers went on to win 3-2 on aggregate.
• Dortmund's record in two-legged ties against Scottish opponents is W4 L2, while Rangers' against German sides is W8 L10. The Glasgow club also lost the 1967 European Cup Winners' Cup final in Nuremberg to Bayern München (0-1 aet), Dortmund having claimed that same trophy 12 months earlier with a 2-1 win in Glasgow against Liverpool.
• Third in the Bundesliga behind Bayern München and Leipzig in 2020/21, and winners of the German Cup for the fifth time with a 4-1 defeat of Leipzig in the final, Dortmund also reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, where they were eliminated after two 2-1 defeats by Manchester City.
• This season, under new head coach Marco Rose, BVB won their first two group games in the UEFA Champions League – 2-1 at Beşiktaş and 1-0 at home to Sporting – but lost the next three – 0-4 away and 1-3 at home to Ajax, 1-3 in Lisbon – to miss out on a top-two spot, though they bowed out with a 5-0 home win against the Turkish side.
• Dortmund have appeared in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase in two previous campaigns, reaching the quarter-finals in 2015/16, when they beat Porto and Tottenham before losing a thriller against Liverpool (1-1 h, 3-4 a), and the round of 16 last time out in 2017/18, when a round of 32 victory over Atalanta preceded a defeat by Salzburg (1-2 h, 0-0 a).
• The German side have won just one of their last five home games in springtime European football, losing three, and that solitary success, 2-1 against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 first leg of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, was insufficient to win the tie (0-2 a).
• Undefeated champions of Scotland in 2020/21 as they claimed a record-extending 55th domestic league title, Rangers also played 13 matches in the UEFA Europa League, progressing from the second qualifying round to the round of 16, where their run was ended by Slavia Praha (1-1 a, 0-2 h).
• Rangers returned to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in a decade this term, but they lost both third qualifying round legs 2-1 to Malmö and therefore transferred to the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they edged Alashkert 1-0 on aggregate to reach the group stage for the fourth successive season. Although they lost their opening two group games – against Lyon (0-2 h) and Sparta (0-1 a) – they remained unbeaten thereafter, taking four points off Brøndby (2-0 h, 1-1 a) and clinching second place with a 2-0 victory over Sparta at Ibrox on Matchday 5.
• This is Rangers' fourth appearance in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, and third in a row. In all three previous campaigns, the first in 2010/11, they won their round of 32 tie before going out in the round of 16. German side Leverkusen ended their interest two seasons ago, winning 3-1 in Scotland and 1-0 in Germany.
• Having gone through the whole of their 2020/21 European campaign without an away defeat (W5 D2), Rangers have failed to record a win on their continental travels this term (D3 L2), scoring just three goals. However, their record on the road in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase is W2 D3 L1, the lone defeat that loss at Leverkusen in 2019/20.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
Out: Ansgar Knauff (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan), Tobias Raschl (Greuther Fürth)
In: Amad Diallo (Manchester United, loan), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus, loan), James Sands (New York City, loan)
Out: Juninho Bacuna (Birmingham City), Ianis Hagi, Filip Helander, Nathan Patterson (Everton)
Links and trivia
• Rangers' 39-year-old goalkeeper Allan McGregor has made 99 appearances in UEFA club competition, while team-mate Borna Barišić is on 49.
• Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna is the son of former Rangers midfielder Claudio Reyna, who named his son after former team-mate and current Gers manager Van Bronckhorst.
• Reyna is a United States international team-mate of Rangers' new loan signing James Sands.
• Rangers loanee Aaron Ramsey headed in the only goal as Arsenal won 1-0 at Dortmund on Matchday 4 of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League. In all the Wales international started five UEFA Champions League group games for the Gunners against BVB, winning three and losing two.
• Dortmund boss Rose was in charge of the Salzburg side that defeated Rangers' arch-rivals Celtic twice (3-1 h, 2-1 a) in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Rangers' Nigerian international defender Leon Balogun was born in Berlin and has represented five German clubs – Hannover (2008–10), Werder Bremen (2010–12), Fortuna Düsseldorf (2012–14), Darmstadt (2014/15) and Mainz (2015–18).
• Ryan Kent spent the first half of 2017/18 on loan at Freiburg, making six Bundesliga appearances.
• Marin Pongračić (Dortmund) and Barišić are both current Croatian internationals.
• Rangers are one of five reigning national champions in the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs, while Dortmund are one of four current domestic cup winners in the field.