Rangers’ qualification to the Europa League Final represents one of the historic sides practicing something of a renaissance.
This season, the Kings of Scotland emerged as a nightmare to face in Europe. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men continue to remind the world about Rangers Football Club and their belonging amongst Europe’s elite. Following last season’s end to a ten year title drought, the 55-times champions of Scotland catch eyes and ears ahead of the side’s first European final since 2008.
With a historical semi-final comeback win in Glasgow, the Rangers advanced to the 2021/22 Europa League final following a 3-2 aggregate win over RB-Leipzig.
Like their previous elimination ties this season, the Gers refused to back down. In Germany, Rangers lost 1-0 in the first leg. Coming back to Ibrox, the boys from Glasgow needed a two-goal victory to advance without extra time.
An amazing start to the match saw Rangers up 2-0 within the first half hour. Of course, this left plenty of time for RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku to draw his side level. However, it developed into one of Rangers’ great nights in Europe. The Ibrox faithful grew enamored with John Lundstram after the clubs new darling grabbed the game-winner. His 81st-minute strike allowed Rangers supporters to erupt in their renowned unity.
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Now with redemption at a European cup final, Rangers eyes another German opponent. Eintracht Frankfurt awaits at the Estadio R. Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, on May 18.
Rangers set for Europa League Final
Right-back James Tavernier is now the Europa League’s top goal scorer with 7 goals to his name. The 30 year-old Rangers captain has been a massive factor in the teams arrival to the final. What is more remarkable is how he earned the top spot among the Europa League’s goal-scorers. Tavernier scored each of his seven goals in Rangers’ eight knockout stage games.
The club’s two leaders up front, Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe, missed extended periods of time this season. Rangers players responded brilliantly with dividing up the responsibility in-front of goal. Morelos, a Colombian international, is indisputably out for the rest of the season with a thigh injury. However, Roofe and Aaron Ramsey could well appear in the final. This would be a massive boost for Rangers against a strong Eintracht side.
Return to prominence
Throughout this journey to the final, Rangers forced the soccer world to take the Scottish side more seriously. Rangers knocked out Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, SC Braga and now RB-Leipzig in the knockout stage. This exemplifies the growth in confidence of the Ibrox club. Having now knocked out two major Bundesliga sides, Van Bronckhorst’s men surely understand what awaits them.
The club last appeared in the final of this competition back in the 2007/08 campaign. That year, Zenit St. Petersburg defeated the Scottish side at the City of Manchester Stadium, 2-0. Rangers has the opportunity to restore the respect of Scottish soccer in Europe. A victory would automatically bring the Rangers back into the UEFA Champions League, which last hosted Rangers in 2010/11. Plus, it would be Rangers’ biggest European trophy in its storied history.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s club also has an upcoming Scottish Cup Final against Hearts on May 21. If anything, that accentuates the rediscovered sense of belief and ambition in the Rangers camp.
Current Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard revived the excitement back into this football club. He led them back to a Scottish Premiership a season ago. Giovanni van Bronckhorst picked up right where he left off with the club. Rangers’ brilliant attacking play keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Rangers should have that on full display in the Europa League Final.
Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
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