Europa League final: Van Bronckhorst unconcerned by lack of 'Ibrox factor' as Roofe return boosts Rangers

By Sports Desk May 17, 2022

Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is not worried about the lack of a so-called "Ibrox factor" in Wednesday's Europa League final, adamant Gers fans will more than contribute to the atmosphere in Seville.

Eintracht Frankfurt stand between Rangers and a first European trophy since 1972, when the Scottish giants won the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Van Bronckhorst's side have already exceeded expectations by reaching the showpiece, which will take place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, home of six-time UEFA Cup/Europa League winners Sevilla.

Rangers' home form has been vital en route to the final, particularly in the context of their results on the road.

Gers have won only one Europa League game away from home this season, the 4-2 thriller at Borussia Dortmund in February, while their three European trips since then have all ended in defeat.

Yet Rangers have been spurred on by a raucous home crowd at Ibrox, particularly in the knockout phase – they have won each of their past three Europa League matches as hosts, scoring three in all of them.

Spanish police are expecting roughly 150,000 Rangers and Eintracht fans to be in Seville for Wednesday's game. As such, Van Bronckhorst is not worried about a lack of backing.

Asked how crucial the support will be, Van Bronckhorst told reporters: "It will be a factor because our fans are supporting us really well.

"Of course, Ibrox is a huge factor and in the ties we played this season in Europe we knew to get a good result away from home to take back to Ibrox [because] we are capable of winning against any team [at home].

"Of course, a final is different because it's only one game you play, not at Ibrox but in Seville, I think we'll both [Rangers and Eintracht] feel that.

"It's different, but still I think you will hear them a lot tomorrow, our fans, and I think our performances can be good as well, so I think we are ready and we'll play the way we always do and give everything we have to win this game."

The presence of Kemar Roofe certainly will not hurt Rangers' chances of success on Wednesday, with the striker back in contention following an injury.

Roofe hurt his knee last month as Rangers beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, and even as recently as last week Van Bronckhorst acknowledged the forward's participation in Seville was doubtful.

But the Dutchman confirmed Roofe is available to face Eintracht, with his involvement now just a selection matter.

"Kemar is available. He trained for the first time with us yesterday [Monday]," Van Bronckhorst added. "He did individual training before that, and he will be training with us [on Tuesday].

"He will be in the squad and I want to use him, he is available."

Roofe has scored 16 times for Rangers across all competitions this season despite not being a guaranteed starter – 16 of his 35 appearances have come from the bench.

The return of Roofe is made all the more important by Alfredo Morelos' absence through a long-term injury.

"Of course, it's a boost for us," Van Bronckhorst said. "He got injured a couple weeks ago when he was in a good spell.

"He's very important for team. I'm happy he's back because he was working hard to be ready for the Leipzig game.

"He didn't make it so we just extended [the season] for him with the final. He is here and he is ready to play his part."

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