With four Americans playing on European League teams, Thursday was not the best of nights with only one registering a victory and none of them putting in 90-minute shifts.
Dortmund 2 – 4 Rangers
Gio Reyna and James Sands started on the bench for their respective teams in what looked like a very one-sided affair in Germany, as the Scottish champs put four past a befuddled Dortmund defense.
Rangers’ goals came from four different goal scorers, including Dan-Axel Zagadou, Borussia’s French defender, who graciously added to the tally.
Reyna was not called upon until the start of the second half, after his team was already down 2-0, while Sands joined his fellow American on the field of play in the 66th minute.
The scoring did not get underway until the 38th minute; a corner kick was headed out of harm’s way by the Dortmund defense, but VAR had a word in the referee’s earpiece. The header turned out to be a handball and allowed captain James Tavernier to score from the spot to put Rangers in the lead.
Three minutes later the Gers prolific Colombian goal-getter, Alfredo Morelos, doubled the lead with his 17th strike of the season. The score lasted until the intermission. After the restart however, it was soon 3-0.
The Germans finally woke up; well at least an Englishman wearing the German team’s uniform did, and Jude Bellingham got them back in the game in the 51st minute.
Yet again, the Scotsmen were not impressed and pulled one back for themselves three minutes later; even if they didn’t score it themselves, the own-goal from Zagadou counted just the same.
Just to make the return leg more interesting, Raphael Guerriero stuck a wonder goal from distance for Dortmund, making the result a bit more respectable.
A two-goal deficit will be a hard mountain to climb next week when Reyna and his teammates head to Glasgow for the return leg, but in the meantime they’ll have to deal with fellow Borussians, Mönchengladbach on Sunday afternoon.
RB Leipzig 2 – 2 Real Sociedad
Tyler Adams was in the starting line-up when Real Sociedad came to Leipzig but he only lasted half of the game, as he did not come onto the field after the intermission.
The Germans got off to a bad start as they allowed Robin Le Normand to breach their defenses and put the ball into the back of Peter Gulácsi’s net after just eight minutes. A deflection on the shot was detrimental in it hitting the mark, as the keeper was left stranded.
The Bundesliga side did get over the initial shock and in fact dominated possession throughout the game as well as shots on goal. It took them just a half-hour into the game to light up the scoreboard themselves, thanks to Christopher Nkunku’s equalizer.
The second half of the game was all about penalties. Mikel Oyarzabal put the Spaniards ahead for the second time in the 64th minute with his spot kick, but yet again; RB came from behind 18 minutes later to knot it up.
Real’s PK was thanks to VAR, which had to check out a possible handball in the box by Joško Gvardiol, which of course was indeed a handball. Dominik Szoboszlai was brought down in the box at the other end, and Emil Forsberg did the honors.
With both teams square, it will make for an interesting game in Spain next week when Adams and RB Leipzig travel for the second leg. In the meantime, they’ll be focused on their short trip up the autobahn as they face Hertha Berlin on Sunday evening.
Sergiño Dest made a cameo off the bench for Barcelona as they played Napoli to a stalemate at the Camp Nou. The game ended 1-1 with the visitors scoring midway through the first half. Barca got back into it however from the penalty spot just before the hour mark. Having played just nine minutes, the American will be well-rested when Barca travels to Valencia for their La Liga clash on Sunday afternoon.