MX23RW : Monday, April 6 08:04:49| >> :120:67033:67033:
Mar 12, 2020 at 8pm UK at Ibrox Stadium
Attendance: 47,494
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
Edmundson (75')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Havertz (37' pen.), Aranguiz (67'), Bailey (88')

Preview: Rangers vs. Bayer Leverkusen - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg between Rangers and Bayer Leverkusen, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Rangers will be looking to keep their campaign alive when they welcome Bayer Leverkusen to Ibrox on Thursday for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Steven Gerrard's men have little left to play for domestically, meaning that all focus is on this double-header with Bundesliga high-flyers Leverkusen.

Match preview

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard before the match on February 26, 2020© Reuters

Three wins from seven in 2020 has all but ended Rangers' hopes of wrestling the Scottish Premiership title back from Celtic.

The Gers host their bitter rivals next weekend, but Gerrard will surely prioritise the games with Leverkusen either side, starting with Thursday's showdown in Glasgow.

This will be just Leverkusen's second visit to Scotland in all European competition following their 1-1 draw at Ibrox in November 1998.

Peter Bosz's men are one of the most in-form sides anywhere on the continent right now, having won 10 and drawn one of their last 12 matches.

The German side, whose only defeat in that run came against Hoffenheim more than a month ago, are fourth in the Bundesliga and within eight points of leaders Bayern Munich.

Realistically speaking, though, the Europa League and DFB-Pokal provide Leverkusen with their best shot at winning some silverware.

Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz pictured in February 2019© Reuters

Leverkusen claimed an impressive 5-2 aggregate win over Porto in the last round and are looking to progress past the last-16 stage for the fist time since 2007-08.

That is also the year Rangers reached the final, which will be the ambitious target for Gerrard in what has been a mixed second season at Ibrox.

The Gers are unbeaten in their last six matches in the Europa League - their longest unbeaten run in European competition since between October 2005 and December 2006.

After digging deep to overcome the competition's highest scorers in Braga last time out, Rangers will now be looking to pull off what would be a big upset as they look to continue flying the flag for Scotland in Europe.

Rangers' Europa League form: DWDDWW
Rangers' form (all competitions): WDWLLW

Bayer Leverkusen's Europa League form: WW
Bayer Leverkusen's form (all competitions): WWWDWW

Team News

Rangers' Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring their first goal with James Tavernier on December 12, 2019© Reuters

Rangers are sweating on the fitness of key men James Tavernier and Ryan Jack for Thursday's first leg.

Gerrard can at least welcome Alfredo Morelos back into his starting lineup after the Colombian striker served a one-match European ban last time out.

Borna Barisic is over his recent injury issue and Jermain Defoe also has a chance of being fit, but Filip Helander remains on the sidelines with a foot injury.

Ianis Hagi had a direct hand in three of Rangers' four goals against Braga in the last round and seems certain to start this match.

As for the visitors, Sven Bender injured his knee in Saturday's 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt and is expected to miss around six weeks of action.

Paulinho played a part in three of Leverkusen's four goals against Frankfurt and is therefore in strong contention to start.

Kevin Volland is definitely out of Thursday's clash, though, while Nadiem Amiri is struggling for fitness.

Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Edmundson, Barisic; Jack, Davis, Arfield; Hagi, Morelos, Kent

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Bender, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Aranguiz, Demirbay; Havertz, Paulinho, Diaby; Alario

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We say: Rangers 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Rangers, who eliminated Leverkusen from the UEFA Cup at the last-32 stage when the sides last met 21 years ago, will be well up for this match. The draw was not exactly kind for Gerrard's men, though, as they come up against one of the continent's most in-form teams. We are tipping the visitors to claim an away-goal win at Ibrox.


Who will win Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg between Rangers and Bayer Leverkusen?

Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen
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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard before the match on February 26, 2020
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