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Rangers vs Bayer Leverkusen prediction: Rangers 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
For the first time in nine years, Ibrox will host a round of 16 tie in UEFA competition.
It’s already been a long and draining European campaign for Rangers that has taken them to seven different countries.
However, with their domestic season falling apart, they will be desperate to maintain their interest in the Europa League.
Bayer Leverkusen though are, probably, the best team they’ve faced in Europe under Steven Gerrard.
The Bundesliga side are in fantastic form and are dreaming of the final in Gdańsk.
This will be their first trip to Glasgow since the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final at Hampden
That day, Zinedine Zidane scored that goal in a 2-1 Real Madrid win.
Will the German side leave Scotland with a better result this time?
Highlights of Rangers 3-2 Braga
Highlights of Braga 0-1 Rangers
Highlights of Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 FC Porto
Highlights of FC Porto 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Rangers vs Bayer Leverkusen: Who will win?
Rangers are big underdogs at 9/4 to get the win they need ahead of a tough second leg in Germany.
Bayer Leverkusen meanwhile are 11/10 to leave Glasgow with a win.
A draw is 12/5.
Over 2.5 goals is 4/5.
Both teams to score is 8/13.
Bayer Leverkusen to win and both teams to score is 3/1.
Alfredo Morelos is Rangers’ top scorer this season with 29. The Colombian is 9/2 to break the deadlock and 6/4 to net anytime.
Ianis Hagi was the hero of the last round. The Romanian international is 8/1 to score first and 29/10 to score again.
Leon Bailey could be the visitors main threat. The Jamaican winger is 6/1 to open the scoring and 21/10 to net anytime.
Kai Havertz though is their talisman. He’s 11/2 to score first and 19/10 to net anytime.
Morelos and Hagi to both score is 9/1.
Morelos and Ryan Kent to both score is 19/2.
Bailey and Havertz to both score is 8/1.
Havertz and Moussa Diaby to both score is 10/1.
Rangers vs Bayer Leverkusen: Match preview
What an amazing tie that was!
In the round of 32, Rangers took on Portugal’s in form team Braga.
The visitors lived up to their big billing early on at Ibrox, rushing into a 2-0 lead after an hour.
However, a brace from Ianis Hagi either side of a solo-effort from Joe Aribo saw them turn it around and win 3-2.
Bedlam in Govan.
But that was only half the job done as, just six days later, they travelled to Estádio Municipal de Braga.
A draw would do but the Gers went one better.
Hagi missed a penalty but, in the 61st minute, Ryan Kent netted to kill off Braga in a 1-0 victory.
In truth, it was a minor miracle Rangers got to the knockout stages as fourth seeds in Group G.
Home wins over Feyenoord and FC Porto followed by a 1-1 draw with Young Boys at Ibrox on matchday six saw them go through in second place.
Their European form under Steven Gerrard has been built upon strong home form, winning 11, drawing four and losing none under him in UEFA competition.
Despite this, their domestic form in 2020 has been shambolic.
On Sunday, they beat Ross County 1-0 in Dingwall but it’s too little to late.
Last Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to Hamilton Academical saw them fall 13 points behind Celtic and end their slim title hopes.
They’ve only won five of their ten Premiership games since the winter break and been dumped out of the Scottish Cup by Heart of Midlothian.
But, can they continue to defy the odds in the Europa League?
Will Bayer Leverkusen be too strong?
As for Bayer Leverkusen, they are surely one of the favourites to go all the way in this competition.
They are one of four Champions League drop-outs left in this competition although there was no shame in finishing third in the group they had.
Juventus and Atlético Madrid progressed through Group D with Leverkusen pipping Lokomotiv Moscow to third.
In the round of 32, they drew the side that came through Rangers’ group, FC Porto.
Three weeks ago, Lucas Alario and Kai Havertz both scored in a 2-1 home win.
Seven days later, both those two netted again with Kerem Demirbay also scoring in a comfortable 3-1 victory at Estádio do Dragão.
Rangers took four points off Porto though in the group phase so they won’t fear them for that reason.
What might worry Gers’ fans is Leverkusen’s Bundesliga form.
On Saturday, they demolished Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 at home; Havertz, Karim Bellarabi and Paulinho scoring.
That means Die Werkself have taken 22 points from their last nine games, losing just one.
Peter Bosz’s side moved up to fourth in the table, one point above Borussia Mönchengladbach who have a game in hand.
They’re still in with a chance of winning the DFB-Pokal.
Last mid-week, they came from behind to beat Union Berlin 3-1.
Next month they will travel to face fourth-tier Saarbrücken for a place in the final.
All of this means it could be an historic season for Bayer.
In their 115 year history, they’ve won just one German Cup in 1993 and the UEFA Cup in 1988.
They are the favourites to win this tie so can they assert their authority in Glasgow?
Rangers team news vs Bayer Leverkusen
Given their poor form, Steven Gerrard has some bid decisions to make as to who he trusts and who he does not.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor is one he can always rely on; the 38 year old has kept 24 clean sheets in 47 appearances this season.
In defence, captain James Tavernier missed Sunday’s trip to Dingwall.
He’s expected to be fit but, if he’s not, it would be a huge blow.
Jon Flanagan would likely deputise even though American Matt Polster started at the weekend.
Borna Barišić will start on the other side.
In the middle, Connor Goldson’s partner will be George Edmundson as Nikola Katić is out of favour.
Filip Helander is still injured.
In midfield, Glenn Kamara will screen the back four.
Ryan Jack sat out Sunday’s game with a swollen knee but is likely to come back into the XI.
Further forward, Scott Arfield is injured and Steven Davis is expected to get the nod over Joe Aribo.
Out-wide, Ianis Hagi, who scored a brace at home to Braga, and Ryan Kent who scored in Braga will both start.
Jordan Jones came off the bench in Dingwall and could be a good option off the bench here too.
Up front, Jermain Defoe is injured.
Nevertheless, Alfredo Morelos remains first pick despite the fact he’s been stuck on 29 goals since 8 February.
The Colombian is back from suspension and Florian Kamberi will be his backup.
Will it be another famous night at Ibrox?
Bayer Leverkusen team news vs Rangers
As for Bayer Leverkusen, Peter Bosz’s side is not at full strength.
Finland number one Lukáš Hrádecký could be a busy man in goal.
At the back, Sven Bender limped off on Saturday afternoon so is a major doubt.
So, Jonathan Tah could come in to partner Edmond Tapsoba; Aleksandar Dragović is the other option.
At full-back, Wendell and Mitchell Weiser have made 25 and 20 appearances this season and are very much first pick.
In midfield, captain Julian Baumgartlinger and Charles Aránguiz will screen the back four.
Further forward, Kerem Demirbay could return to displace Paulinho.
Out-wide, they have great options.
Moussa Diaby and Karim Bellarabi are likely to keep their places, with Leon Bailey missing out and he’s a very good player.
Up-top, top scorer Kevin Volland is out with a ligament tear.
So, talisman Kai Havertz will be given a free centre-forward role.
Can he get his tenth goal of the season and fire Leverkusen to a win in Glasgow?
Predicted Rangers line-up vs Bayer Leverkusen
Predicted Bayer Leverkusen line-up vs Rangers
Highlights of Rangers 1-0 Feyenoord
Highlights of FC Porto 1-1 Rangers
Highlights of Rangers 2-0 FC Porto
Highlights of Feyenoord 2-2 Rangers
Highlights of Rangers 1-1 Young Boys
Highlights of Ross County 0-1 Rangers
Highlights of Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Atlético Madrid
Highlights of Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Highlights of Bayern Munich 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Highlights of Bayer Leverkusen 4-3 Borussia Dortmund
All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.
Scottish Premiership table:
|5||Hamilton Academical FC||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|10||Ross County FC||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|11||St Johnstone FC||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|12||St Mirren FC||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|1||FC Bayern Munich||34||26||4||4||100||32||68||82|
|5||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||34||19||6||9||61||44||17||63|
|6||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||34||15||7||12||53||53||0||52|
|11||1. FC Union Berlin||34||12||5||17||41||58||-17||41|
|12||FC Schalke 04||34||9||12||13||38||58||-20||39|
|13||1. FSV Mainz 05||34||11||4||19||44||65||-21||37|
|14||1. FC Cologne||34||10||6||18||51||69||-18||36|
|18||SC Paderborn 07||34||4||8||22||37||74||-37||20|
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