By Joe Ellis

27th Apr, 2022 | 9:10am

Rangers atmosphere will be 'intense' - RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku

Tomorrow’s Europa League semi-final first leg is fast approaching and Rangers will be fancying their chances despite a tough opponent in RB Leipzig.

Their last four opponents are sat in fourth in the Bundesliga but the Light Blues have already beaten Germany’s second-best team Borussia Dortmund this season.

The first leg, to take place in Germany, could be key to determining the victors of the tie although a passionate Scottish crowd will no doubt give the Gers the edge in the return leg next week.

Leipzig’s top scorer Christopher Nkunku expects the Ibrox noise to be intense but is, understandably, confident that his side can reach the final in Seville.

“Dortmund has a lot of quality so for Rangers to beat them in the way they did over two games shows that they are a team with a lot of quality,” Nkunku said, as quoted by the Daily Record.

“We know Rangers will have an intense atmosphere in Glasgow – but we are not even thinking about the second game.

“I expect both games to be intense – it is a big trophy to win and both teams are going to be fighting hard.

“At this stage of the season we are just looking at the next game – and we will be doing all we can to get a good result in Germany so we go to Glasgow in a good position.”

One to watch

You will struggle to find many players in better form than 24-year-old Nkuknu in the entirety of Europe and Giovanni van Bronckhorst has to warn his players of the threat he poses.

Even though he isn’t an out and out striker, the French international has scored a whopping 30 goals this season with 10 of those coming in 10 European appearances for the German outfit.

That is a remarkable scoring record for a striker let alone a midfielder, albeit a very advanced midfielder, and if he is given the chance to score in either leg, he would probably take it.

The Bears’ boss van Bronckhorst might be clever to assign somebody to man-mark the Frenchman out of the game because of how much he contributes to Leipzig’s game.

John Lundstram is the kind of player to have the energy to do that all game long and considering he doesn’t do anything special in attack, that is who we would assign the role of security.

In other Rangers news, the club’s row with the SPFL could cost the entirety of Scottish football a significant chunk of a hefty sponsorship fee.