Rangers need to make the first leg at Ibrox count and their season will be virtually over if they can’t secure a positive result here.
A 1-0 victory over bottom-half outfit Ross County on Sunday hardly got the pulses racing, courtesy of Ryan Kent’s deflected 77th-minute strike, with that just their second goal in four games now.
In fact, veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor kept them in the game up until then with a man of the match performance, so confidence in the camp is not sky high at the moment.
Ominously for the Gers, Leverkusen have really hit their stride and are in by far their best form of all season.
They’re currently on a run of eight wins from nine unbeaten matches, with the stalemate coming away at RB Leipzig, while they won both legs in the Last 32 against Porto, as well as home wins over Dortmund and last season’s semi-finalists in this competition Eintracht Frankfurt.
The attack in particular has looked in great shape, netting at least twice in all eight victories, while in 12 games since the winter break, Leverkusen have now scored 32 times as these matches have averaged 3.75 goals per game when including their opponents’ efforts.
Leverkusen To Beat Rangers
Leverkusen have benefited from plenty of home games in their recent schedule, but even on the road they’ve won seven out of 10 going back as far as November, a run which included a victory over leaders Bayern Munich at the Allianz.
Rangers are W7-D2-L4 since late January now, though Leverkusen are of a higher quality than any of their opponents over this spell, and we’d expect them to capitalize on the Gers’ poor form in 2020.
Indeed, Steven Gerrard may have won 11 of 15 unbeaten games at home in Europe since taking the job, but six of these matches came in qualifying rounds against weaker sides, while group stage victories over Feyenoord and Porto came when they were in much better form and challenging on all fronts.
The former Liverpool midfielder will also likely have to make do without injured trio Jermaine Defoe, James Tavernier and Jack Ryan again, though the latter two stand an outside chance of featuring here.
Right-back Tavernier would be a major blow in particular, as he’s their joint-top assist maker this term alongside left-back Borna Barisic, but Defoe has contributed a combined 18 goals or assists this term, while Jack has managed nine, so they look short of the firepower they’ll undoubtedly need against a side with Leverkusen’s attack.
ALL ABOVE PRICES ARE CORRECT AS OF 15:30 10/03/2020 AND ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS
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