MX23RW : Saturday, September 18 11:11:50| >> :120:62538:62538:
Aug 6, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at BayArena
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
Diaby (51')
Aranguiz (14'), Sinkgraven (45+2'), Tah (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Barker (53'), Hagi (67')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League last-16 fixture between Bayer Leverkusen and Rangers, including team news and predicted lineups.

Rangers make the trip to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen looking to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Whoever prevails from this match will take on either Inter Milan or Getafe in the quarter-finals later this month.

Match preview

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard reacts on March 12, 2020© Reuters

Having started their Europa League campaign on July 9, 2019, Rangers have arguably overachieved in reaching the last-16 stage of this competition.

However, having come through games against the likes of Porto, Feyenoord and Braga without suffering a defeat, Steven Gerrard will remain optimistic that his side are capable of responding to their 3-1 setback versus Leverkusen at Ibrox.

Leon Bailey's 88th-minute goal in Glasgow has the potential to make all the difference in this tie, and it leaves Rangers with little option but to go on the offensive on Thursday.

Nevertheless, if they are to cause an upset at the BayArena, last season's Scottish Premiership runners-up will have to perform better in the final third than they did against Aberdeen on Saturday.

Although Alfredo Morelos is attracting interest from Lille, Gerrard will hope that the Colombia international can add to his eight-goal tally since the start of the group stages.

While Leverkusen are behind the visitors with regards to match fitness, they are motivated to build on their advantage knowing that they must win this competition to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Peter Bosz and his players were naturally disappointed to miss out on fourth spot in the Bundesliga table on the final day of the season, a scenario which was created due to just seven points coming from their last five matches.

Nevertheless, despite the likely departure of Kai Havertz in the coming weeks, Bosz will feel that the sale of the playmaker will create an opportunity to strengthen in other areas.

Die Werkself's last competitive fixture came on July 4, when they lost the DFB-Pokal final to Bayern Munich.

Bayer Leverkusen Europa League form: WWW
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WDWLWL

Rangers Europa League form: WDDWWL
Rangers form (all competitions): W

Team News

Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz pictured on July 4, 2020© Reuters

Despite frequent reports regarding his departure, Havertz is expected to start for Leverkusen on Thursday evening.

However, the German outfit are without Kerem Demirbay, who serves a one-match suspension.

As for Rangers, Leon Balogun is ineligible for this contest after recently signing on a free transfer from Wigan Athletic.

Although he is making good progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury, Jermain Defoe is unlikely to be risked.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Bender, Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell; Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger; Diaby, Havertz, Bailey; Volland

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

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We say: Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Rangers

While Rangers will have benefitted from 90 minutes of competitive football at the weekend, Leverkusen can afford to play this game at their own pace. With that in mind, we feel that the home side will run out comfortable victors on Thursday evening.

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