Bayer Leverkusen vs Rangers | Thursday 6th August 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Bayer Leverkusen welcome Rangers to the BayArena on Thursday evening for the second leg of their Europa League last 16 tie.
Peter Bosz’s hosts won handsomely 3-1 in Glasgow, giving Steven Gerrard’s side a mountain to climb in what would one of the greater Europa League nights in recent years should they pull off an unexpected comeback.
Rangers got their Scottish Premiership underway with a 1-0 victory at Aberdeen on Sunday, exciting young winger Ryan Kent scored the only goal of the game on 21 minutes. It was more comfortable than the scoreline would suggest, taking the three points without conceding a shot on -target, a strong start as they look to deny rivals Celtic a 10th consecutive league title.
Leverkusen will have been out of competitive action for over a month by the time they meet the Gers, suggesting the Scottish side could have the edge.
Die Werkself will need to play themselves into some form if they are to go deep into the tournament having tripped up towards the end of the Bundesliga campaign, relinquishing their grip on fourth place and Champions League qualification, pipped to the post by two points by Borussia Monchengladbach.
This disappointment could spur on the young squad, determined to play on Europe’s top stage next season, which can be earned by winning the competition. The spotlight will largely be on the performance of widely reported Chelsea transfer target Kai Havertz.
The German forward is subject to rumours of transfer fees in the region of £70million, Havertz has caught fire particularly since the turn of the year, contributing 17 goals and nine assists in all competitions.
In and around Havertz, there is no let up in youthful attacking talent with Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey, scorer of the third goal in the first leg, expected to be involved. It will be an intense examination for Rangers’ new centre back partnership of ex-Brighton duo Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun.
Experienced compared to his peers, striker Kevin Volland returned to fitness towards the end of the campaign and scored the only goal of the game on the final day as Leverkusen beat Mainz. A lot more of a physical threat than the other attackers, Volland adds some nice variety for Bosz to use in what could be a busy schedule should they progress.
The betting angles
Bayer Leverkusen will look to play themselves into some form in this encounter, looking for a positive result even with their outstanding two goal advantage. Havertz will want to perform well in the shop window therefore the aggregate scoreline should not affect proceedings too much. Expect Rangers to be on the back foot for the majority.
Back Leverkusen with a -1 Asian Handicap on GentingBet at odds of 6/5 and we'll have the insurance of your stake back if the home side only win by a goal.
Leverkusen to Win to Nil is also recommended. Sven Bender and Edmond Tapsoba showed plenty of signs they are to become a brilliant defensive partnership in the second half of the Bundesliga season, they too will want to perform strongly on their return to action.
Bayer Leverkusen v Rangers – Bayer Leverkusen -1 Asian Handicap (6/5 GentingBet)
Bayer Leverkusen v Rangers – Bayer Leverkusen to Score in Both Halves (29/20 William Hill)