UEFA Europa League has reached the stage where 16 more teams are fighting for the title. One of the most interesting matches will be played between a Scottish team Glasgow Rangers and German side Bayern Leverkusen. Especially Finnish football fans will be offered a treat since both teams have a Finnish player in the lineup. Glen Kamara will play for Rangers and Lukas Hradecky for Leverkusen.
Rangers v Leverkusen – Season so far
Glasgow Rangers is one of the giants in Scottish Premier League with Celtic. These two teams have won every single Championship in Scotland since 1986. Rangers has been crowned champions 18 during 1986 and 2020. This season Rangers are currently 2nd in the league as Celtic leads the league by a mile. Rangers have 21 point cap to third place Motherwell, which tells everything you need to know about skill levels of the league. Rangers is a solid team though and capable of winning bigger teams of Europe. Jermain Defoe leads Rangers in scoring with 13 Premiership goals. Former HJK Helsinki player Alfredo Morelos is 2nd with 12 goals.
Bayern Leverkusen is also a solid side and constantly challenging biggest teams in Germany like RB Leipzig, Bayern München and Dortmund. Leverkusen is currently 4th in Bundesliga, right behind the teams mentioned earlier. Leverkusen is 8 points behind league leading Bayern München. Kevin Volland has been the best goal scorer for Leverkusen with 9 Bundesliga goals.
Rangers v Leverkusen – Form in past 5
Rangers haven’t been in form lately and they suffered couple of losses a few weeks ago. First Hearts knocked Rangers out of the Scottish Cup in quarterfinals and couple days later Hamilton pulled off a massive upset by winning the Rangers 0-1 in Glasgow. Rangers have won twice in their past 5 games, lost twice and drawn once. During the 5 game span Rangers have scored 4 goals while also giving away 4. At home Rangers have won 3, drawn one and lost one during past 5 games in Glasgow with goal ratio of 6 goals for and 4 goals given away. Ryan Kent has two goals in past 5 games.
Leverkusen comes into the first leg red hot. The German side has won 4 out of its past 5 games and have scored 13 goals while giving away only 3. Leverkusen has also been successful away from home as they have won 3 out of their last 5 away games. They have also played one draw and lost once. In their past 5 away games Leverkusen has scored 12 goals while giving away 7. Moussa Diaby, Kai Havertz, Karim Bellarabi and Paulinho all have 2 goals each in past 5 matches.
Rangers v Leverkusen – What to bet?
If you look at these two teams and their form, Leverkusen would be a easy pick. But there is more into that. Both teams have some trouble with injuries. Rangers’s Jermain Defoe spent 8 games injured, came back for two games and got injured again. He will most likely miss the first meeting between Leverkusen and Rangers. Rangers also have Scott Arfield, James Tavernier and Ryan Jack injured from their usual lineup plus Filip Helander out as a long term injury. Leverkusen will miss Kevin Volland and Sven Bender for sure. Lars Bender is probably out.
Leverkusen has been controlling the possession a lot in their past games and have been making a lot of passes, average of 680 in their past 5 games. Leverkusen is a young and incredibly talented team with massive potential. Rangers are dominating the possession in Scottish league games, but in Europe against bigger teams the Scottish side is struggling big time.
If Leverkusen gets to keep the possession and play their passing game, they will come out as winners in this one. Fast, young, talented Leverkusen will be missing some of their veteran players, but their roster is deep and they can easily get a strong squad together even with 3 injuries. Rangers will suffer more from their injuries. Due to all these aspects, I’m picking Leverkusen to win the first meeting, even away from home.
Rangers v Leverkusen – The pick