Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst says he is “very confident” his team can impress against RB Leipzig and give themselves a chance of reaching the Europa League final.
The Scottish champions are travelling to Germany for the first leg of their semi-final tie, hoping to get a positive result ahead of the return leg at Ibrox next week.
Van Bronckhoprts has already guided his side to victories over Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade and Braga to reach this stage and believes Rangers can take another major step and upset the odds to reach the final.
“Well, of course we have the belief,” he said in his media conference ahead of Thursday’s game.
“If we are still involved in Europe and in a semi-final and you see the run we’ve had in Europe then it’s been very good.
“But in the end we need another good performance tomorrow and next week. The confidence is there but I think also that we know that we have to perform again and everything we achieved in the past doesn’t count against Leipzig.
“We are just preparing well for these two games and I am very confident in my team.
“I am sure that we can get good performances in and have a chance to make the final.”
For the Dutchman, the competition has been the setting for some of his best games since taking over from Steven Gerrard late last year. He reflected on the work that has been done since and said that the team would be giving “everything” to progress to the final.
“Personally that’s what you want,” he said when asked what it would mean to lead his team to the final in Seville.
“I came in in November with my staff and I think we had to start straight away without any preparations.
“We both reacted well. Not only my staff and the staff that were already here, but also the players and we have to do it all together.
“Of course I am the manager and I will lead the team but I m just very proud of the players and how they have performed in difficult circumstances against difficult opponents.
“We are now in the final weeks of the season and we will give everything we can to be successful in Europe and that’s what you want.
“Being involved in Europe and playing big games.”
Van Bronkhorst said his side had no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match, and dismissed claims from the RB Leipzig camp that the Bundesliga side were exhausted after a busy schedule, saying that every team still involved in Europe was playing a lot of games.
Looking specifically at the threat the opposition could cause, he said that there wouldn’t be an overly cautious approach, or cavalier attacking, with the team looking to find a balance in a difficult venue.
“It depends on the game, of course,” he said. “You always want to attack and create chances. I think we have shown that in all the games we have had – also away from home.
“We just have to make sure we do the right thing at the right moment. I am sure we will have moments when we are defending.
“But we have to also wait for moments when we can attack and create dangerous chances to score. It’s a semi-final of the Europa League so the level is high and the level that’s needed is also high.
“So we have to prepare well and make sure we have a good result to take back to Ibrox next week.”
Around 7000 Rangers fans are expected to be in Leipzig to back their team and Van Bronckhorst said the support would be important as the players face up against “a very strong team”.
“It’s always a factor when you have a lot of fans travelling with you,” he said. “We have had that the whole season when we’ve played abroad.
“The fan base who travel with us are amazing. It feels a little bit like playing at home when you are away.
“As for Leipzig I think it is a very strong team, a very attacking team with a lot of pace up front with the strikers. It is a very well organised team as we have seen with the games they played against Atalanta.
“We have to prepare well because we are going to play against a very strong team. When you play in a semi-final then any team you play is strong, so we just have to prepare well.”
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