It is not so long ago that Glasgow Rangers last played in a European Cup final.

In 2008 the club reached the UEFA Cup final but lost to Zenit St. Petersburg in Manchester.

The fact that they are back in the Europa League final 14 years later is still an extraordinary story.

The club had accumulated millions in debt - the operating company was liquidated in 2012 - and had to start over in Scotland's fourth division.

You quickly fought your way back up, winning the first Scottish championship since being relegated last season with then coach Steven Gerrard.

But they have not been able to successfully defend the title this year with Gerrard's successor Giovanni van Bronckhorst: City rivals Celtic handed in a draw against Dundee United last Wednesday for the championship.

Van Bronckhorst had taken over as leaders in November and held the top spot for a few weeks - at Christmas they were six points clear of Celtic - before losses to nominally weaker opponents saw them slip to second place.

The Rangers lacked consistency.

This season in Scotland they haven't picked up full points in 11 league games, up from just six times last season.

Van Bronckhorst may well be popular in the blue part of Glasgow - he played there for a number of years as a youngster - but losing the league to Celtic is more than a minor blemish.

Before the final against Eintracht on Wednesday (9 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Europa League and on RTL), van Bronckhorst is also plagued by personnel worries.

His top scorer, Alfredo Morelos, will be out;

the second-best striker, Kemar Roofe, was also missing recently.

In the semi-final second leg against RB Leipzig, van Bronckhorst fielded his side in a defensive 3-4-2-1 formation - and the sole forward, Joe Aribo, usually plays in midfield.

Nevertheless, Rangers prevailed against Leipzig because van Bronckhorst's plan worked: others took over the scoring.

Above all, the 30-year-old captain James Tavernier, the right-back who scored the first goal in the 3-1 win in the second leg against Leipzig - and with seven goals is the most successful goalscorer in the Europa League.

It also shows that the mentality of the Rangers is the greatest strength of this team - especially at home at Ibrox Stadium.

There they defeated Red Star Belgrade in the round of 16, Sporting Braga in the quarterfinals and RB Leipzig in the semifinals, whereas they lost the respective away games against all three opponents.

They will therefore hope that as many Scottish fans as possible will travel to the final in Seville to replicate the Ibrox atmosphere.

Around 200,000 Rangers fans are said to have traveled the almost 350 kilometers to Manchester for the 2008 final, although only 37,000 of them had tickets.

There will certainly not be that many in Spain.

The Rangers played with a feeling of invincibility that defied all financial inequalities, wrote sports portal The Athletic in a tribute to the unlikely final.

The BBC, on the other hand, accused the team of having a split personality, as in “Dr.

Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” but cautioned, “The only thing you must not do is underestimate them.”

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