Rangers and RB Leipzig are all set to face off in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie at the Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, on Thursday, May 5.
Scotland giants Rangers welcome German bigwigs RB Leipzig for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final tie at the Ibrox on Thursday night. The home team enter the second leg trailing by a goal on aggregate and will need the fans to get behind them in the all-important fixture.
Leipzig were made to wait for 85 minutes to break the deadlock at the Red Bull Arena in the first leg of the tie. The home side had multiple opportunities to take the lead but Rangers held on. It was only in the 85th minute that the Bundesliga side took the advantage through Angelino’s strike from outside the box following a corner.
Rangers come into the encounter on the back of a high-octane 1-1 draw against Celtic in the Old Firm Derby. The stalemate saw Celtic edge closer to the Premiership with a six-point lead and just three games left to play. Rangers have had a mixed recent form with two wins, two losses and a draw in their last five matches.
Leipzig, on the other hand, lost 1-3 to a 10-man Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Monday which pushed them down to fifth on the table. It was their second consecutive league defeat with the win over Rangers sandwiched between. The German side will have to put their best foot forward in front of a vociferous crowd at the Ibrox to maintain their lead and book a spot in the final.
Team News & Tactics
🎙️ GVB: We still have one final training session, At the moment I can't say if Roofe or Ramsey will make the squad tomorrow.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) May 4, 2022
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronkhorst will be without attacker Ianis Hagi, midfielder Nnamdi Ofoborh, striker Alfredo Morelos and centre-back Filip Helander. There are still question marks over the availability of Aaron Ramsey and Kemar Roofe, with the manager confirming in his pre-match conference that a call is yet to be made on the duo.
A lot will depend on the Roofe’s fitness, who will lead the Rangers line if he is 100% fit. In his absence, one of Joe Aribo and Fashion Sakala spearhead the attack. The latter notably scored in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday and could get the nod.
Van Bronkhorst will continue with the 4-3-2-1 with Allan McGregor keeping his spot between the goal. A back four of James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Calvin Bassey, and Borna Barisic will play behind a midfield three of Glen Kamara, John Lundstram and Ryan Jack.
Assuming Roofe misses the encounter, Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent will start as the two attacking midfielders with Fashion Sakala leading the line.
Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic; Kamara, Lundstram, Jack; Aribo, Kent; Sakala
Domenico Tedesco is expected to have most of his players fit for the encounter with midfielder Amadou Haidara the only exception. Tedesco will continue with a 3-4-3 where Dani Olmo drops deeper to allow Andre Silva and Christopher Nkunku to lead the attacking line as the front two.
The sun's brighter in Scotland, @angel_tasende69
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) May 4, 2022
Peter Gulacsi will man the goal with Mohamed Simakan, Willi Orban and Josko Gvardiol starting as the three centre-backs shielding him. Benjamin Henrichs and Angelino will be the two wing-backs, who will have the licence to bomb forward and provide added attacking support.
Konrad Laimer and Kevin Kampl ought to line up as the double pivot in the centre of the park and look to keep Aribo and Kent under the wraps. As iterated earlier, Olmo, Nkunku and Silva will form the attacking trident for the visitors at the Ibrox.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Gulacsi; Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol; Henrichs, Kampl, Laimer, Angelino; Olmo, Andre Silva, Nkunku
- RB Leipzig will qualify for their first-ever European final if they manage to see through the second leg against Rangers.
- Rangers have played four European finals before, finishing second-best in each of them.
- The two teams have met twice before with RB Leipzig emerging victorious on both occasions. They first faced off in a friendly encounter in January 2017, which Leipzig won 4-0, before squaring off in the first leg of this year’s Europa League semi-finals.
- Rangers right-back and captain James Tavernier is the tournament’s joint top-scorer with six goals.
- RB Leipzig have scored in each of their last nine matches across competitions.
Player to Watch
📊 Christopher Nkunku cette saison
48 matches 👕
31 buts ⚽
20 passes décisives 🎯
Le grand absent des nommés pour le Trophée UNFP 🏆 du « meilleur joueur français à l’étranger » pic.twitter.com/5V0QWVGloh
— Foot Mercato (@footmercato) May 3, 2022
Christopher Nkunku has been on fire this season, scoring 31 and assisting 20 goals across competitions for RB Leipzig. His form has put several European giants on alert, who are all vying for his signature ahead of the summer transfer window.
The French attacking midfielder’s ability to score and create goals in equal measure has made him a vital asset for the German giants this season. With a Europa League final spot at stake, the 24-year-old will need to step it up at the Ibrox and take his team across the line on Thursday night.
Rangers 1-2 RB Leipzig
With the Ibrox egging them on, Rangers will play on the front foot as they need to cut down the one-goal deficit. That could allow Leipzig some space behind the hosts’ midfield. Expect both sides to get on the scoresheet with Leipzig likely to come out on top, riding on strong performances from their attacking trident.