Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists his players are relishing their formidable Europa League showdown with Borussia Dortmund.
The Scottish champions will face the tournament favorites in their knockout round, with the first leg at the legendary Westfalenstadion on Thursday.
However, Van Bronckhorst is confident his side will embrace the tie rather than be intimidated by it.
“We want to play against the best possible opposition in all the competitions we have, so it’s normal to experience the moments we are currently facing, playing against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League,” the Rangers manager said.
“These are the games you want. Since you were young, you worked hard to be able to play these games. Everyone is excited.
“We are playing against one of the best teams in Europe. You know that when you are still in Europe after the winter break, you are going to be playing against very good opposition. We relish the challenge of playing against a top team in a beautiful stadium. We will go out and try to qualify for the next round.”
Rangers’ task could be made easier by the fact that Covid-19 restrictions in Germany mean there will be just 10,000 fans in the first leg, while there will be a full house in the second leg at Ibrox this week. next.
“Of course it’s different playing in front of 10,000 people compared to a full stadium,” Van Bronckhorst said. “We’ve had games this season with a full stadium and fewer people, so we know the differences.
“But we still face a good team, so for me there is no real difference, we still have to go out and perform.
“We want to have the best possible result to take back to Ibrox next week when we have the support of a full home crowd.”
Dortmund, second in the Bundesliga, should also be hampered by the absence of star striker Erling Haaland, who has missed the last two games with a muscle injury.
“Everyone recognizes his talent, he is one of the best strikers in the world,” said Van Bronckhorst. “But Dortmund have been playing without him for weeks, so for me it’s just about preparing for the players we will face.
“He’s almost back to action, but it looks like he’s not in the squad for Thursday.”
Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack is fit for Thursday’s first leg after missing the last two matches, but Filip Helander is not considered fit enough to be included, while fellow defender Leon Balogun is injured .
Van Bronckhorst explained that his team will have to find a balance between sticking to their game plan and playing with spontaneity.
“The players will play with their intuition in the moments of the game,” he said. “We have to give that freedom to the players, especially the forwards, but you also want to have your defensive and attacking form as a team.
“Alfredo (Morelos) has a big role in that, so there will be times when he has to take the positions that we want him to take, but there are times when he has the freedom to do what he feels. He and Ryan (Kent), in particular, have that freedom.”