Another night of intrigue in the Champions League saw yet another former Rangers opponent in RB Leipzig face the mighty Manchester City.
On this occasion, of course, Rangers beat the Germans on aggregate in what was one of the biggest wins in the history of the club, so with admittedly a new coach in tow following the exit of the gracious Dominico Tedesco to Belgium, how would Leipzig fare v Pep’s colossus?
Well, once again an English side underestimated their opponent, and while City’s giants got more from Leipzig at home than Rangers, in the form of a draw, it still shows just what Rangers achieved last season overcoming this impressive German outfit overall.
Leipzig are actually in about the same shape domestically as they were when Rangers faced them, being just outside the Champions League places, and while it’s a bit of a different team now in personnel (they signed about 6 players last summer and shipped out 25 (yes really)) they’re not really a much stronger side.
They’re about the same as they were, having a very easy Champions League group, with the expectant Real obviously cruising it and Leipzig strolling it themselves against a pretty modest Shakhtar and an abysmal ‘other mob’.
And yet, when City went to Germany, they barely did any better than Rangers, despite being one of the richest sides in the world and having the world’s best striker. A draw was all they could muster.
What does this one tell us?
Again – we repeat what one or two Rangers ‘fans’ actually abused us for yesterday. We were superb in the Europa League, and we punched stunningly above our weight, beating sides who this season are handling or even beating gigantic European heavyweights.
We had some bad luck in the Champions League (especially v Liverpool) but also lacked courage at times, and Giovanni let us down with his tactics, particularly v Ajax.
Conclusion? A decade in the wilderness of this elite competition left us a bit naïve, and we’ll learn from it. But put it into context – sides we humped last year are now matching the best Europe has to offer.
Gio gave us something to build from, and Michael Beale is doing a good job of that.