Leverkusen host Rangers in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg – all you need to know.
UEFA ranking: 23 (5)
Domestic position: 5 (final match: 27 June)
How they got here: UEFA Champions League group stage, 5-2 Porto
Last season: round of 32 (lost on away goals v Krasnodar, 0-0a, 1-1h)
Previous UEFA Cup/Europa League best: winners (1987/88)
UEFA ranking: 94 (15)
Domestic position: 2 in 2019/20; 2020/21 season kicked off on 1 August
How they got here: Group G runners-up, 4-2 Braga
Last season: group stage (third)
Previous UEFA Cup/Europa League best: runners-up (2007/08)
Leverkusen: Hrádecký; L. Bender, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Wendell; Aránguiz, Baumgartlinger; Bailey, Havertz, Diaby; Volland
Out: Amiri (quarantine), Demirbay (suspension), Weiser (suspended)
Doubtful: Bellarabi (unspecified)
Misses next game if booked: Aránguiz, Bellarabi, Wendell
Players added to squad: Florian Wirtz
Players removed from squad: Paulinho
Rangers: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barišić; Arfield, Jack, Aribo, Hagi; Kent, Morelos
Out: Katić (knee), Defoe (hamstring), Balogun (ineligible), Kamara (suspended)
Doubtful: Davis (knock)
Misses next game if booked: Barišić, Helander, Jack
Players added to squad: Andrew Firth, Filip Helander, Jordan Jones
Players removed from squad: João Baldé, Wes Foderingham, Andrew Halliday, Florian Kamberi, Kieran McKechnie, Sheyi Ojo, Matt Polster
Leverkusen have to be strong favourites, carrying a 3-1 advantage into the home leg, and the prospect of playing the next three rounds on home soil is decent incentive. Add in Kai Havertz's fine form since the restart (seven goals and two assists in nine games) and there is plenty of cause for optimism, but the inconsistency that has dogged Die Werkself of late means they are not out of the woods yet.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg at Ibrox in March, the odds on Rangers turning their fortunes around would appear to be slim. However, an early goal would change that mindset and Morelos and Kent have already shown they are capable of scoring important away goals. Reaching the last 16 constitutes success for Steven Gerrard's side, so in a sense they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having a go.
What the coaches say
Peter Bosz, Leverkusen coach: "It will not be an easy game. We have a good starting position, but we are not yet there. Rangers won four times in preparation against good teams. This is not possible if you have a bad team! Karim Bellarabi only trained individually today: he is doubtful for tomorrow."
Steven Gerrard, Rangers manager: "It's a game we are looking forward to, we are disappointed with the result from the first leg but we are over here to give it everything we have got. The plan is to try and start on the front foot and get that first goal to make it an interesting tie."
• Leading 1-0 through a Kai Havertz penalty after 37 minutes of the first leg in Glasgow, Leverkusen doubled their lead with a 67th-minute Charles Aránguiz half-volley before Rangers reduced the deficit with a header from defender George Edmundson. The final word, however, went to the visitors as Leon Bailey made the final score 3-1 with a measured 88th-minute strike.
• Uniquely among the eight round of 16 ties, Rangers and Leverkusen have been paired before in UEFA competition. They met in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup second round, with the Scottish club prevailing 3-2 on aggregate (2-1 a, 1-1 h) thanks to a goal in each game from Finnish striker Jonatan Johansson.
• While that is Leverkusen's lone previous experience of Scottish opposition, Rangers have now met German clubs on 46 occasions, including Bayern München in the final of the 1966/67 European Cup Winners' Cup final, which they lost 1-0 after extra time. The Gers have only won three times in 22 visits to German teams (D8 L11), that 1998 success at Leverkusen the most recent. Since then their record against Bundesliga hosts is D1 L6.
• Rangers' record in two-legged UEFA ties against German clubs is W7 L9. They were triumphant in the most recent, overcoming Werder Bremen (2-0 h, 0-1 a) in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16 en route to that season's final.
• Fourth in the 2018/19 Bundesliga, Leverkusen thus entered the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 12th time. In last season's European campaign they were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League round of 32 by Krasnodar after topping a group featuring Ludogorets, FC Zürich and AEK Larnaca.
• The German club's bid to reach this season’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 was scuppered by defeats in their opening three matches – 1-2 at home to Lokomotiv Moskva, 0-3 at Juventus and 0-1 at Atlético Madrid – and although they rallied to beat Lokomotiv away (2-0) and Atlético at home (2-1), a BayArena defeat by Juve on Matchday 6 (0-2) left them in third place.
•.Victory over Porto in February put Leverkusen into the UEFA Europa League round of 16 for the third time, but they have never made it beyond this stage, going out in both previous ties to Villarreal, in 2010/11 (2-3 h, 1-2 a) and 2015/16 (0-2 a, 0-0 h). They were, however, successful UEFA Cup round of 16 participants in 2006/07 and 2007/08, winning both ties – the first against Lens (1-2 a, 3-0 h), the second, on away goals, against Hamburg (1-0 h, 2-3 a) – before exiting in the quarter-finals.
• The Werkself have drawn seven of their last 16 European home games (W6 L3). In the UEFA Europa League they are unbeaten in seven matches at the BayArena (W4 D3), since a 0-1 defeat by Benfica in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32, and have an overall home record in the competition, play-offs included, of W10 D5 L2.
• Leverkusen have won eight of the nine UEFA ties when they have won the first leg away, most recently against Sporting CP in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (1-0 a, 3-1 h). They have never previously won the first away leg 3-1.
• Rangers qualified for 2019/20 European competition as runners-up to Celtic in the Scottish Premiership. They also won four qualifying ties to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time, but just one win and six points prevented them from making further progress.
• Once again Rangers were obliged to come through four qualifiers to reach this season's group stage, going undefeated in knocking out St Joseph's, Progrès Niederkorn, Midtjylland and Legia Warszawa. In Group G they beat Feyenoord and Porto at home and drew with both sides away but lost to a late winner at Young Boys before securing their qualification at the Swiss side's expense with a 1-1 draw at Ibrox on Matchday 6. Subsequent home and away wins against Braga, coupled with Celtic’s round of 32 elimination by Copenhagen, have left them as Scotland's longest surviving European representatives for the first time in nine years.
• The Gers' only previous UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie, in that 2010/11 season, ended in elimination by PSV Eindhoven (0-0 a, 0-1 h), though, like Leverkusen, they did reach successive UEFA Cup last-16 ties in 2006/07 and 2007/08, losing the first, to Osasuna (1-1 h, 0-1 a), and winning the second, against Bremen.
• Rangers' victory in Braga back in February was their first on the road in the UEFA Europa League proper (D5 L3), though they had drawn both of their previous two away fixtures in the group stage. They are unbeaten away from home in their last five UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League knockout phase fixtures (W2 D3).
• Rangers have never recovered to win a UEFA tie after losing the first leg at home, suffering elimination on all five occasions, most recently in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round against Malmö (0-1 h, 1-1 a). Their only previous 1-3 first-leg defeat at Ibrox was also against German opposition, Bayern beating them by that scoreline in the first round of the 1989/90 European Cup before a second-leg 0-0 draw in Munich.
Links & trivia
• Lukas Hradecky (Leverkusen) and Glen Kamara (Rangers) are international team-mates for Finland.
• This is the only tie in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 between two clubs that have previously won a major UEFA competition, Rangers lifting the 1971/72 European Cup Winners' Cup and Leverkusen the 1987/88 UEFA Cup.
• While Rangers have won a record 54 Scottish league titles, Leverkusen have never been crowned champions of Germany.
• Alfredo Morelos, Rangers' Colombian striker, was the top scorer in this season's UEFA Europa League qualifying phase with eight goals, and the group stage with six. He has yet to score in the knockout phase.
• Rangers manager Steven Gerrard skippered Liverpool to back-to-back 3-1 wins against Leverkusen in the last 16 of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League – en route to lifting the trophy in Istanbul. He had tasted defeat against the same opponents three years earlier as Leverkusen eliminated Liverpool in the quarter-finals (0-1 a, 4-2 h).
• Rangers are the only club to have reached this season's round of 16 after beginning their UEFA Europa League journey in the first qualifying round.
• Leverkusen are one of four UEFA Champions League group stage participants to have reached the UEFA Europa League round of 16, along with Internazionale, Olympiacos and Shakhtar Donetsk.
• Rangers finished the curtailed 2019/20 Scottish Premiership season in second place behind Celtic, whereas Leverkusen ended up fifth in the Bundesliga, securing a return to the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League. They also finished runners-up in the DFB-Pokal, losing 4-2 to champions Bayern München in the final.
• Leverkusen's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
3-2 v Espanyol, 1987/88 UEFA Cup final
3-5 v Tirol Innsbruck, 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup quarter-final
2-3 v Atlético Madrid, 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16
• Rangers' record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W3 L1:
1-3 v Borussia Dortmund, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup third round
4-3 v Paris Saint-Germain, 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round
4-2 v Marítimo, 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round
4-2 v Fiorentina, 2007/08 UEFA Cup sem-final