Europa League Final: The blue sea of Ibrox is headed for Seville
Rangers fans are off to Spain for the Europa League final and Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse says they'll be dancing in the streets of Seville...
We're all off to sunny Spain
Rangers travel to Seville, where they'll meet Frankfurt in the final of the Europa League, and it seems half of Glasgow will go with them. Early reports suggest there could be more than 100,000 fans in the Spanish city.
The vast majority of those travelling by air, sea and road don't have tickets and have been warned by UEFA to stay away, but nothing will stop them.
Supporters were made to watch from home as their team won a famous 55th league championship during lockdown last year. They want to be as close to this historic game as possible. Fan zones, bars and street parties will do.
Giovanni van Bronkhorst's side were asked to give fans a reason to dream, and the players have done just that. The club is potentially 90 minutes away from a European trophy, and there's genuine optimism amongst everyone with love for the Teddy Bears.
50th anniversary of success in Spain
Confidence can be taken from the history books...if you look hard enough.
Rangers have played in five European Cup finals, winning one. The spare victory came in the European Cup Winners Cup when beating Dynamo Moscow 3-2. This week's final coincides with the 50th anniversary of that famous result, almost to the day.
Rangers beat German opposition in the semi-final, upsetting the odds to eliminate Bundesliga kings Bayern Munich. They cemented their place in Seville thanks to victory over RB Leipzig.
The final half a century ago was staged in Spain with Rangers beating Moscow at the Nou Camp. Fifty years on, the famous Scottish club is back, seeking further glory on Spanish soil.
When winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1972, Rangers failed to win the Scottish top flight. They make their way to this match having lost the title but by the end of the week could have a Europa League and Scottish Cup double.
An incredible journey
Rangers journey to Seville has been incredible, with the club written off at every turn and having to overcome several obstacles. They entered the competition at the playoff stage, struggling past little-known Alashkert 1-0 on aggregate back in the summer.
Then came the group stages when Rangers - then under the guidance of Steven Gerrard - lost each of their first two matches, defeated by Lyon and Sparta Prague before going on a four-match unbeaten run.
They finished as runners up behind the French Ligue 1 side and - now with van Bronkhorst in charge - stopped Lyon's perfect record with a draw on the road on matchday six.
A famous German double
Rangers then beat huge teams in the knockout stages, starting with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in the playoffs, shocking the Germans 6-4 on aggregate. That got the attention of football fans across the continent and went down as one of the club's greatest ever results in Europe.
Next came Red Star Belgrade, another major scalp, Rangers winning 4-2 over two legs. But they weren't finished yet.
Gers fought back from a goal down to eliminate Braga in the quarter-finals. Then, if Dortmund wasn't enough, they caused another upset in the semi-finals when scoring an emphatic 3-2 aggregate win over RB Leipzig, again coming from a goal down.
One final push
Can the famous Glasgow Rangers go all the way and etch their name on the trophy? You bet they can.
Manager van Bronkhorst, captain James Tavernier and the squad have worked wonders in this competition. The Scots have beaten two sides from the top four of the Bundesliga already. Frankfurt are currently down in 12th.
Gers also have the Europa League's top scorer in Tavernier, a right back. The Englishman takes penalties and loves to get forward at every opportunity, ghosting in at the back post to meet crosses from Ryan Kent, Borna Barisic and Calvin Bassey.
Aaron Ramsey, a world-class player, is desperate for game time ahead of the Welsh national teams' push to the World Cup in Qatar. He was born to perform on the big stage. John Lundstram is fast becoming an icon in the stands. Between the posts stands Alan McGregor - the Cinderella Man.
Europa League Final betting
Rangers are priced at 3.25 to win the Europa League in normal time. There's 2.32 to lift the trophy, a market that covers 90 minutes, extra time and penalties.
Tavernier scored against both RB Leipzig and Dortmund. He's fancied to find the net when it matters most, strengthening his claims for ownership of the golden boot.
Both teams scored in three of their four games against German opposition on the route to the final, and more of the same here is 1.71. Over 2.5 goals will attract attention at 1.91 with armchair fans hoping for another goal-fest.
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