AT a bitterly cold and snowy Red Bull Arena this afternoon, Rangers were defeated by RB Leipzig in a special friendly match.
Watched by an incredible travelling support from Glasgow, the side currently sitting second in the Bundesliga proved to be too strong for Mark Warburton’s men, but the boys in Light Blue would have learned so much from arguably one of Europe’s most talented sides.
Given their lofty league position, plenty of pressure from the home side was always to be expected, and it was they who forced the first opportunities with Davie Selke finding the arms of Wes Foderingham after a corner was flicked onto him, before seconds later, he fired wide of the Gers keeper’s left-hand post after winning the ball in midfield and making a burst forward.
Rangers weren’t to be daunted by their opponents however, and while not really fashioning any chances as such, they weren’t afraid to go forward and knock the ball about in the Leipzig half despite the Germans playing a very impressive pressing game.
The breakthrough in the match came on the 21 minute mark, with Timo Werner putting Leipzig in front. Sprinting into the area, he showed composure to round Wes Foderingham before poking the ball goalwards – but on the line waiting to intercept was Danny Wilson.
His desperate slide towards the ball wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net however, but the goal wasn’t to silence the thousands of Gers supporters congregated behind Foderingham’s goal who continued to back their team in quite superb fashion.
Again, the visitors tried to build in Leipzig’s half, but they were to be caught out by again by some excellent pressing from the home side for their second goal just two minutes shy of half-time.
The lively Werner won the ball from Jason Holt midway into the Gers half and raced forward before releasing the advanced Oliver Burke who made a smart run from the right flank.
The pass from Werner was inch-perfect for the Scotland international, and he took a touch to take him into the area before sliding the ball beyond Foderingham.
Rangers could have had goal back just before the referee blew for the interval with Jon Toral believing he had grabbed his first goal in the blue of his new club, but after playing a neat one-two with Josh Windass to put him in position to finish, the linesman adjudged Windass to be offside.
The half-time interval saw Mark Warburton make four changes, with Matt Gilks replacing Wes Foderingham, Emerson Hyndman coming on for Toral, Lee Hodson switching with James Tavernier and Martyn Waghorn taking the place of Josh Windass.
RB also made some half time alterations, and one of them – Naby Keita – forced Gilks into a very decent save with a driven 25-yard effort before Gilks had to be lively again, turning a Bernardo effort from the penalty spot away with his foot.
But he could do nothing as Rb extended their lead on 63 minutes through Yussuf Pulsen, and again, Timo Werner was involved this time breaking down the left wing and cutting the ball back beyond the reach of Gilks for the striker to tap home into an empty net.
Gers didn’t give up though despite the defecit, and Martyn Waghorn forced Peter Gulasci into a save when he and Michael O’Halloran played some neat football to get Waghorn into a shooting position on the edge of the area.
O’Halloran had a real impact after his introduction in the 69th minute, and after a good run down the right, only the toe of Willi Obran denied his cutback finding Waghorn for a certain goal with Gulacsi stranded.
That defiance from Rangers was broken again with 10 minutes left to play though as Leipzig made it 4-0. Making the run down the left was Pohnik Franke, and his cut-back found Poulsen for his second of the game.
Again Gers came forward in the hope of giving their travelling fans at least something to cheer about, and a superb ball from Rob Kiernan found Martyn Waghorn on the edge of the area out on the left, but his shot from an angle across goal didn’t trouble Gulacsi.
So 4-0 it finished, but Gers really were up against a side of genuine class and will have learned so much from the exercise.
RANGERS: Foderingham (Gilks, 45) Kiernan, Hill (Senderos, 69), Wilson, Holt (Forrester, 69), Toral (Hyndman, 45) McKay, Tavernier (Hodson, 45) Windass (Waghorn, 45), Miller (O’Halloran, 69).
SUB NOT USED: Bates.
RB LEIPZIG: Gulacsi, Bernardo, Orban, Sabitzer, Werner, Ilsanker, Burke, Halstenberg, Selke, Demme, Compper.
SUBS: Mller, Poulsen, Keita, Scmitz, Upamecano, Kaiser, Khedira, Wojtkowski, Fursberg, Franke, Gipson.