Rangers’ opponents Borussia Dortmund have been dealt a major injury blow ahead of the second leg of their Europa League knockout playoff at Ibrox [Borussia Dortmund Twitter].
The Gers dished out a shock drubbing in Dortmund on Thursday evening, triumphing 4-2 despite being without a number of first-team players.
Ianis Hagi, Leon Balogun, Kemar Roofe, Fashion Sakala and Jon McLaughlin were all left at home due to injuries, while Filip Helander was ineligible.
Dortmund weren’t at full strength either, though, with star striker Erling Haaland deemed not fit enough to return to action following a groin injury.
Thomas Meunier and Marius Wolf also missed out through injury, while Emre Can was suspended.
On Saturday afternoon, ahead of a Sunday evening Bundesliga match against Borussia Monchengladbach, Dortmund manager Marco Rose provided an update on his squad.
Wolf is back in contention, but Manuel Akanji is facing a significant period on the sidelines with a calf injury, while Haaland and Meunier still aren’t ready to return.
“Erling Haaland is not an issue (not available) for the game against Gladbach, Marius Wolf could become an option,” said Rose [Borussia Dortmund Twitter].
“Manuel Akanji is out for about three weeks with a muscle fibre tear in his calf. Thomas Meunier is not yet back in team training.”
Akanji was given a very hard time by Ryan Kent at Signal Iduna Park on Thursday evening and then was subbed off in the 55th minute after pulling up.
He’s very much a regular starter for the German giants, though, whether at right-back or centre-back, so his absence for the Gladbach clash, the second leg against the Gers and beyond, is a significant blow for Rose.
If Meunier was back fit the blow would have been softened, but the Belgium international still looks to be some way off a return, and while Haaland may return to the squad at Ibrox, it now looks unlikely that he’ll be fit enough to start.
Meanwhile, the sporting director of a Premiership club has conceded that a Rangers-linked player could become a free agent at the end of the season.