Gio van Bronckhorst’s Rangers side progressed through to the next round of the Europa League as they won 6-4 on aggregate in their knockout tie.
The Gers were handed the perfect chance to take the lead on the night against Borussia Dortmund as Ryan Kent was felled in the box by Julian Brandt. James Tavernier stepped up from the spot and lifted the ball into the back of the net to make it 5-2 on aggregate.
Dortmund went through their gears after that strike and put themselves ahead going into half time thanks to goals from Jude Bellingham and Donyell Malen.
Van Bronckhorst switched to a 3-5-2 at the break and his tactical tweaks worked wonders as Rangers got back into the game with a fine volley at the back post from Tavernier. Kent was then desperately unlucky to have a third goal ruled out as VAR adjudged Alfredo Morelos to have committed a foul, despite other angles suggesting that he did no wrong.
Whilst the Gers skipper scored twice against the Bundesliga giants it was another player who was the star of the show on the night – Calvin Bassey.
The Nigeria international was phenomenal and his performance highlighted both his quality and his adaptability as he played at centre-back in the first half and then switched to left wing-back in the second half. Van Bronckhorst brought Leon Balogun on at half-time for Borna Barisic and this allowed Bassey to play in a more advanced role down the left.
Defensively, he was outstanding. As per SofaScore, he won 75% (9/12) of his duels throughout the match, as he made two clearances, two interceptions, one block and four tackles. He also managed to avoid committing a single foul despite his heavy involvement at the back, which shows that he was almost faultless in his defending as he protected Rangers’ advantage in the tie.
Bassey was then able to express himself on the ball when he moved into a wider position. Tavernier’s second goal came from him beating a player with a successful dribble down the left and whipping a teasing delivery into the box that was deflected into his captain’s path by Mats Hummels.
The deflection meant that it did not go down as a key pass or an assist, but there is no doubting that the goal came from his excellent work on the flank.
Therefore, the £6.4k-per-week tank was the real star of the show as he was excellent in both of his positions and played a major role at both ends of the pitch for the Gers. He showed that he has the defensive ability to compete at this level whilst also having the quality on the ball to make a difference in the final third.