If ten years ago they told you that a European semifinal would be a Leipzig-Rangers you would not have believed it (follow the match live on As.com). In the summer of 2012, the former began the season in Germany’s third division and the latter in Scotland’s fourth. Both are now in a great moment, but while some have come this far with a powerful external investment, the others are a historic team that their fans and good decisions in sports management have returned to the elite.
In this 2012, Rangers went bankrupt and had to be refounded. It went from being Glasgow Rangers to The Rangers Football Club through an agreement with Sevco Scotland Ltd., the company that acquired the club for €6.5 million, and from playing in the Premiership to playing in the fourth division. His rise was meteoric, rising in two seasons to Second and in another two seasons to First, with an average attendance close to 50,000 spectators. Social support was key.
When they return to Primera they realize that when they left the league counter was 54-43 in their favor over Celtic and now it was 54-47. They were in the same category as their main rival, but not at the same level. They were only able to win an Old Firm two and a half years later. And a league after four seasons seeing them lift the title. When she was 54-51.
There is no explaining how they managed to be the best team in the country after ten difficult years without Steven Gerrard. They come to him after two consecutive years being third behind Celtic and Aberdeen. A surprising decision considering that it would be the first experience of the legend net on a professional bench. From Liverpool he takes Flanagan, a former teammate, and homegrown players Kent, Ovie Ejaria and Sheiyi Ojo.
The pandemic was a turning point. The team came back ready to sign a historic season. They won the league undefeated and in all competitions they only lost three games out of fifty-six. They were back. Gerrard was taken by the Premier League in mid-November and to replace him they opted for Gio van Bronckhorst, another high-level former soccer player. But this one had had experience, and a very good one, at Feyenoord.
Gio has only had to maintain what Steven had built, but injuries have crushed his plan. His top scorer Morelos missed the first Old Firm of the season due to the CONMEBOL team break in January and the last two due to injury. Hagi broke his knee earlier in the year. Ramsey, a signing this summer with the ability to give them an extra differential touch, has only played 15 games. He and Roofe, the team’s other striker, will be a doubt for today until the last minute.
The league is practically sentenced in favor of Celtic, since they are separated by six points with only three games to go, and the Cup final is not played until the 21st. The illusions of coming back are enormous. In the quarterfinals they also raised a 1-0 in the first leg against Braga. Lhe stands at Ibrox Stadium have been waiting for a match like this for a long time.