07 August 2020
Rangers will face an uphill task of overcoming a 3-1 deficit from Ibrox when they take on Bayern Leverkusen at the BayArena this week in the return leg of their UEFA Europa League last-16 tie.
Despite failing to progress from this round of the competition in both of their previous attempts, the hosts are in complete control of this tie, especially given they’ve avoided defeat in all seven of their last Europa League home outings (W4, D3). Leverkusen joined the competition this year after finishing third in the UEFA Champions League Group D (W2, L4) only to go past Porto in the round of 32, 5-2 on aggregate (2-1 H, 3-1 A). The home win over Porto means that three of Bayer’s four European home fixtures this season produced the identical 2-1 scoreline (W2, L2). Notably, ‘Die Werkself’ have failed to fight their way through to the next round just once from nine UEFA two-legged ties in which they won the first leg on the road.
Meanwhile, Rangers lost only once in six Europa League group stage fixtures (W2, D3) to finish runners-up to Porto in Group G and went on to eliminate Braga from the competition’s round of 32, 4-2 on aggregate (3-2 H, 1-0 A). A lack of ruthlessness in front of goal has, however, seen Steven Gerrard’s side score precisely once in three of four Europa League trips this term, qualifying excluded. The visitors will also have to defy a dismal overall record in Germany (W3, D8, L11) and a disappointing away form in the Europa League proper in recent years (W1, D5, L3). Moreover, the ‘Gers’ have failed to complete a turnaround in all five of their previous UEFA ties in which they lost the first leg at home.
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