The first leg of this Europa League semi-final did not go Rangers’ way but Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men are still in with a chance of reaching their first European final since the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, where they lost to Zenit. Rangers certainly haven’t had an easy path to reach this stage, with Steven Gerrard leaving the club halfway through the campaign to manage Premier League side Aston Villa, while drawing some big names in the knockout stages.
But Champions League dropouts Borussia Dortmund fell in the knockout round play-off and Rangers will be hoping for a repeat against German opposition at the cauldron that is Ibrox. The stadium has been a big part of Rangers’ run in the Europa League this season, and they are unbeaten in five matches at Ibrox since losing 2-0 to Lyon in their opening group stage match.
For RB Leipzig, this is a chance to make history. A club founded in 2009 in controversial circumstances, hated in Germany by almost everyone not affiliated with Red Bull, Leipzig are just one game away from their first ever European final. And like Rangers they haven’t had it easy.
Although he is now doing well at Leeds United, Jesse Marsch struggled with Leipzig and they dropped out of the Champions League, but Domenico Tedesco has steadied the ship – in Europe at least. Defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach on Monday has seen RB Leipzig fall out of the Bundesliga top four with just two matches left to play, so the Europa League could be their route back to the Champions League.
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Rangers vs RB Leipzig match stats
It truly is Christopher Nkunku’s season as the Frenchman scored his 30th goal of the campaign in RB Leipzig’s defeat to Gladbach on Monday, and he’ll be looking to add another in Europe. Nkunku has 10 goals across the Champions League and Europa League so far this season, with only Karim Benzema (14), Robert Lewandowski (13) and Sébastien Haller (11) managing more in Europe’s top three club competitions.
Rangers have their own goalscorer extraordinaire in Europe, with defender James Tavernier netting five home goals in the Europa League – more than any other player. A set piece expert, Tavernier has scored a penalty in each of his past three Europa League matches at Ibrox and will be hoping for an opportunity to become the first player to net spot-kicks in four consecutive home matches in the competition.