The phrase that the football business can be brutal is known. It is often used, possibly too often. But what the Rangers had to go through in the run-up to their Europa League semi-final against Leipzig (Thursday, 9 p.m., live! At van Bronckhorst), this phrase becomes more than just.

On Tuesday morning, the traditional Scottish club had to announce the sudden death of its clubidol Jimmy Bell – the witness manager was the soul of the 150 -year -old club for 36 years. “We were in shock all Tuesday – and are still standing,” said coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst at the matchday conference on Wednesday with a deeply graded expression. “We didn’t do much on the training ground, the mood was totally in the basement – everyone talked about Jimmy and exchanged personal stories,” said the Dutch.

van Bronckhorst appeals to the Rangers family pride

But of course it is also the task of Van Bronckhorst to prepare his team as best as possible for a possible season highlight – the Europa League final on May 18 in Sevilla. “It will certainly be very emotional in the IBROX, that’s clear,” said van Bronckhorst, “but when the game is kicked off, we will be full.” For the Rangers, the game against Leipzig, according to van Bronckhorst, is “already a huge affair under normal circumstances”, in the game one after Jimmy Bell’s death “is about going out, delivering our best and making all Rangers fans proud. And of course we also want to make Jimmy proud. “

It is a terrible time for our club, but we train today and will all play for Jimmy tomorrow.

James Tavernier

Captain James Tavernier, who continued the digital PK after van Bronckhorst, was also emotionally touched. “It is a terrible time for our club, but we train today and will all play for Jimmy tomorrow,” said the defensive player. In 2014, the Englishman joined the Rangers in 2014 when the “Blaunasen” had already worked into the second Scottish league after the forced relegation to the fourth league (2012, bankruptcy).

Tavernier and the anecdote with the bandage: “It will be hard”

“When I met him for the first time, I asked him about the number 2. And he immediately let me come up a bit because of this question,” said the 30-year-old, who, like many of his colleagues, of a “very special relationship to Jimmy “spoke. “There were so many details with him that will now be missing,” said Tavernier and remembered how he always got the captain’s armband on the witness officer shortly before kick -off. “Without him, it will be hard.”

The tactical specification is clear: “An early goal”

He describes the Europa League final in mind in his seven years with the Rangers as “a trip he had always hoped for”. In his 37 Europa League games (nine goals) so far, he “managed to knock on the door in the big competitions. And now we only need to take a step to reach the final “.

When asked what the tactics could look like against the Leipzig, who had a strong Leipzig game in view of the 0: 1 in the first leg, the Rangers captain has a simple answer: “We should score an early goal.”

penalty record a warning for Leipzig

Tavernier has to know, because in the previous home games of the knockout phase, the right-back had always brought the Rangers to the front-and always from the point. A penalty in the 2-2 against Dortmund (22nd minute), a penalty in the 3-0 against Red Star (11th) and two in the extension thriller against Sporting Braga (2nd, 44th). “If we succeed again, we can intimidate Leipzig,” said the ice -cold executor.


The Tedesco-Elf should be warned. A similar lethargic first half as in Mönchengladbach and the dream of the second finale in the season finish could burst quickly.

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