Rangers star admits Erling Haaland's Ibrox absence will 'disadvantage' Borussia Dortmund
Norwegian striking superstar Haaland had been expected to make his return to action in the second leg as Dortmund attempt to recover from the shock 4-2 defeat they suffered at home to the Scottish champions last week.
But the 21-year-old, the Bundesliga club’s top scorer with 23 goals in 20 appearances this season, did not travel with them to Glasgow on Wednesday.
Haaland has still not fully recovered from the muscle injury he suffered in a league game against Hoffenheim last month.
Balogun, who is fully fit again after his own recent injury problem, says he personally feels contrasting emotions over not preparing to line up against one of the world’s most highly regarded forwards.
But the Nigerian international accepts that it should enhance Rangers’ hopes of finishing the job and taking their place in Friday’s draw for the last 16 of the Europa League.
“I think in this competition you want to compete against the best and he (Haaland) is one of the best at the moment,” said Balogun. “So, from that perspective, it is a sad thing.
“But if you look at what he means to Dortmund, then surely it is a disadvantage to them, it is going to weaken them a little bit. But, then again, they have got enough to compensate. Not at the same level, probably.
“But (I have) mixed feelings. I’m definitely not going to complain about it though.”
Balogun’s availability, after missing Rangers’ last three games with a knock he suffered against Hibs at Ibrox two weeks ago, is timely for manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst whose central defensive options are limited by the decision not to register Filip Helander for his Europa League knockout phase squad.
“I’ve been craving that, to get ready for these fixtures,” added Balogun. “I’m here, I’m ready (to play).”
Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey will again be absent from the Rangers squad, however, with the unspecified injury which also saw the Juventus loanee miss last Sunday’s trip to Dundee United.
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