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Two traditional European giants meet in Germany on Thursday night in the Europa League play-off round as Borussia Dortmund host Rangers, in what should be a two-legged tie that is unrivalled when it comes to atmosphere at both grounds.
It was a good weekend for Dortmund, who cut the deficit to Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga table to six points after comfortably beating Union Berlin, following Munich’s shock defeat at Bochum the day before.
Rangers, meanwhile, have recovered well after their humbling Old Firm Derby defeat to Celtic almost a fortnight ago, with three consecutive wins and clean sheets.
That should give us two in-form sides for this one, so let’s dig a little deeper before revealing our expert football betting tips.
We tend to associate Borussia Dortmund with plenty of goals and they haven’t disappointed in that regard in recent months.
Marco Rose’s side have scored in each of their last 19 matches, while at home, they’ve scored 17 goals in their last five outings at Signal Iduna Park.
That run has included five-goal routs against Freiburg and Besiktas, but they’ve also scored twice in losses to Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, so either when they’re not at their best, they’re finding the net without much fuss.
And Rangers are going through a bit of a dry spell when it comes to their away form in European competition. The Glaswegians failed to win on the road during the group stages of this season’s Europa League and were unable to pick up a clean sheet either, from games against Lyon, Brondby and Sparta Prague.
Dortmund are certainly a few steps above that trio, so we think they should get plenty of joy against a visiting side that aren’t having all their own way back home. Our selection is for Over 2.5 Borussia Dortmund Goals, with the best betting sites such as bet365 pricing this up at 6/4.
The start of 2022 has been a bit of a mixed bag for Borussia Dortmund.
Victories against Union Berlin and Hoffenheim were typically entertaining, but their 5-2 home hammering by Leverkusen could be a potentially damaging one in the Bundesliga title race.
And they really didn’t want to find themselves in the Europa League at this point of the season. A dismal run of three straight group defeats in the Champions League left them with too much work to do and they ultimately exited the continent’s elite knockout competition before the fun really got started.
But they have plenty of goals in their side and should have too much firepower over two legs for this Rangers outfit.
That said, they’ll have to make do without Erling Haaland, who remains on the sidelines through injury, while Thomas Meunier is also a doubt after picking up a knock.
Their 3-0 loss at Celtic threatened to severely rock their Scottish Premiership defence, but Rangers have dealt well with that setback in the games since.
Three wins on the spin have been backed up with a trio of clean sheets, and with a favourable run of games ahead of them domestically, they should be in good shape to keep up with their in-form neighbours.
But their away form in Europe does little to inspire confidence in Gio van Bronckhorst’s side. Two draws and a defeat is hardly panic-station form either, but if you’re struggling against the likes of Brondby and Sparta, then you’re likely to hit trouble when the big boys drop down from the Champions League.
And they don’t come much bigger than Dortmund, who could cause big problems for a Rangers defence that has conceded seven times in its last four domestic outings.
As far as injuries are concerned, the most notable absence is that of Romanian forward Ianis Hagi, who is continuing his recovery from knee surgery.
These two are somewhat familiar to each other, having met eight times down the years. Their first two-legged tie took place all the way back in 1967, with Rangers coming out on top.
And the Gers have a very steady record in the fixture, losing only once in those eight games.
Thursday night’s meeting takes place at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, which is known for its vociferous atmosphere and intimidating “Yellow Wall” grandstand.
The stadium has undergone a handful of renovations in the last quarter of a century, with the capacity now standing at just over 81,000.
This tie has plenty of glamour, with both sides known for bringing plenty of action on the pitch, as well as a tonne of noise off it.
But there really should only be one winner in Germany on Thursday night. Dortmund are several classes above anything Rangers have faced this season and they should prove way too strong here.