Rangers – Bayer Leverkusen: Rangers Second Half Momentum Crushed By Late Goal (1-3)
Bayer Leverkusen’s sterile first half was salvaged by a fortunate penalty. Rangers earned their way back into the game, but saw their efforts nullified by a second Bayer goal. Finally, Edmundson repaired his penalty-costing mistake with a headed goal, only for Leon Bailey to crush Gerrard’s men’s hopes with a late third goal.
Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi.
Bayer Leverkusen rightly arrived at their round of sixteen tie against Rangers with the highest of expectations. Fifth in the Bundesliga, eight points off the top, their previous round had seen them effortlessly dispose of Porto, as their Europa League success dream toughened.
Peter Bosz set up his team in a standard 3-4-2-1 formation by making three changes to the winning eleven that trashed Eintracht Frankfurt with four goals to none last weekend. Aleksandar Dragović, Jonathan Tah, and Kerem Demirbay made the cut, while the injured Sven Bender watched the game from home and Julian Baumgartlinger and Paulinho strengthened their manager’s options off the bench.
Rangers, on the other hand, had just made it past Portugal’s third force in Sporting Braga, and, rank second in the Premiership, thirteen points off league leaders Celtic. All in all they did not appear to possess the means to pose a threat to the German side.
Steven Gerrard made changes compared to his last league win as well. Two, with Ianis Hagi and Matt Polster being displaced by Scott Arfield and James Tavernier.
Stale settings . . .