Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his coaching staff have started their preparations already for their next Europa League match.
It will be difficult to overcome Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen over the two-legged tie, but the Gers have also proven to be hard to beat.
To reach the quarter-finals the Rangers players will have to be at their best against this top German side and score from the chances they make.
The Ibrox club knew it would be two tough match ups, as the standard of the competition has been raised since being whittled down to the last 16.
During Leverkusen’s 3-1 win over Porto, star man Kai Havertz tore his left ankle ligament and won’t play for about three months, giving Rangers one less top player to worry about.
The Europa League is the second most prestigious UEFA tournament next to highly acclaimed, and one and only, Champions League.
Here are some of the teams who were eliminated in earlier rounds of the Europa League:-
Arsenal, Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Porto, Benfica, Espanyol, Sporting Lisbon, Celtic, Gent, Malmo, Cluj, Torino, PSV Eindhoven, AEK Athens.
Dinamo Kiev, Rosenberg, Lazio, Standard Liege, Partizan Belgrade, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Spartak Moscow., Red Bull Salzburg.
Gerrard thinks Bayer Leverkusen are one of the favourites to win the cup, therefore, Rangers will be the underdogs for this double-headed fixture.
Rangers and Leverkusen booked their places by knocking out Portuguese sides Braga and Porto, to set up these exciting cup ties.
“The atmosphere is electric there, it’s not a huge stadium but it’s really close to the pitch,” Gerrard said after Rangers were drawn against the Bundesliga side, as quoted by STV.
“It’s going to be a good challenge for the players but I think they are one of the favourites.
“The way they have gone and dealt with Porto, they deserve to be one of the favourites.
“German football, ever since I made my debut, my experience against German players and German teams is it’s always tough.
“They are big, strong athletes who are professional and tactically astute.
“It’s exciting but is going to be very, very tough.”
“If we eradicate mistakes by being focused then I think we will be fine.”
Regardless of the outcome against Leverkusen, it has been an excellent European campaign for Rangers, where the Ibrox club have surpassed many people’s expectations.
Going back a few years when the Gers were playing in the lower leagues of Scottish football, it is a proud moment to be a Light Blues supporter now.
There is natural disappointment at some of the inconsistent domestic results since the turn of the year, but Rangers supporters are hoping for an another memorable night at Ibrox next week.
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