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Rangers have work to do in this UEFA Europa League (UEL) semi-final as they look to overturn a first-leg 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig and secure a first European final appearance since 2008! They do have a solid home record in Europe, losing only five of their last 33 home matches (W21, D7), and they’ll surely draw confidence from the fact they’ve netted 2+ goals in each of their last five games at Ibrox in this competition (W4, D1).
The Glaswegian side are currently without some key attackers, like injured talisman Alfredo Morelos, but manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst may be more concerned by his side’s ability at the back. Rangers followed up last week’s first-leg defeat with a 1-1 draw in the Old Firm derby, a result that not only all but ended Rangers’ Scottish Premiership title dreams, but also made it just one clean sheet in ten competitive matches for Bronckhorst’s side (W5, D1, L4).
The UEL knockout stage has been kind to Leipzig since they dropped into it from the Champions League. They’ve not lost a single leg so far (W3, D2) either side of receiving a bye against Spartak Moscow in the Round of 16. They now look well placed to book a spot in their first ever European final, especially as they have progressed from three of the four previous UEFA ties in which they claimed a home victory in the first leg.
However Leipzig will come into this clash following a defeat (3-1 vs Borussia Mönchengladbach) that came a day later than Rangers’ Old Firm clash, and that could prove crucial in the latter stages of this match. That was their first competitive defeat on the road since the beginning of February (W8), and while many won’t expect another, Leipzig’s last European visit to Glasgow ended in a 2-1 UEL loss to Rangers’ rivals Celtic (2018/19).
Players to watch: Rangers’ James Tavernier has scored five goals across his last three UEL home appearances, four of which arrived before half-time. Opponent Christopher Nkunku has been in similarly impressive goalscoring form for Leipzig, with four away goals across his last four competitive away matches.
Hot streak: Leipzig have scored at least once in all 11 of their European matches this season (24 in total).
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