10 questions Rangers fans will have about Bayer Leverkusen - answered

Everything you need to know about the Ibrox side's opponents in Europa League last 16

What's their home ground like?

The club play their home matches at the BayArena, which is handily located in central Leverkusen in the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany. The ground has a capacity of just over 30,000 and is surrounded by several Beergartens where supporters of both teams can mingle before the match. Leverkusen itself isn't noted as a typical tourist destination, but nearby Cologne is just a 15-minute train journey away.

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The atmosphere inside the ground is known for being particularly raucous, mainly due to a combination of a passionate fanbase and the stadium's roof, which covers a large area and doesn't leave much room for the noise to escape.

Leverkusen's players celebrate after scoring their third against Porto in the Europa League. Picture: SNS

The BayArena was also the first stadium in Europe to have a McDonald's restaurant as part of the ground.

Who's their manager?

Peter Bosz was an eight-time Dutch international who most famously starred for Feyenoord as a midfielder between 1991 and 1996.

Leverkusen represents his ninth job in management, while he also had a four-year spell as Feyenoord's technical director in the late noughties.

He took over the club midway through last season and oversaw a significant improvement in the league, winning 11 of their last 17 games to qualify for the Champions League after they'd only won six in the first half of the campaign.

How have they fared in European football this season?

Finishing fourth gained them entry into the group stages, where they were joined by Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow. Defeat at home to the Russians in the first game was a significant blow, but they rallied to beat Atleti and win the return match in Moscow, which was enough to finish in third place and qualify for the Europa League.

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Any Rangers fan wondering how tough they'll be compared to their previous opponents in the competition thus far should know they defeated Porto home and away in the last 32, including a comfortable 3-1 triumph in Portugal on Thursday night.

Where are they in the league table?

They're fifth in the German top flight, level on points with Borussia Monchengladbach in the final Champions League place and only six points from Bayern Munich at the top. They've netted 40 goals and conceded 29 in 23 league games so far.

What kind of form are they in?

Quite simply, it's tremendous. They're riding a six-game winning streak in all competitions, including a stunning 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund, and have failed to win only once in ten, a 2-1 defeat at Hoffenheim in early February.

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How do they like to play?

Bosz prefers a progressive approach built around ball retention. At present they sit second in the Bundesliga, behind only the league leaders Bayern Munich, for average possession (62.1 per cent).

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Through most of 2020 the manager has preferred a 3-4-3 formation with left-winger Moussa Diaby playing along with highly-rated playmaker Kai Havertz in the supporting roles behind leading striker and goalscorer Kevin Volland.

Who's their star man?

It's hard to look beyond Havertz. Though he's yet to match up to his breakout 2018-19 campaign, where he netted 17 league goals and 20 in all competitions, he's still being talked up as the subject of a potential £100 million transfer battle between Liverpool and Manchester United this summer. Despite being only 20 years of age, he already has seven caps for Germany and 135 appearances for his club.

Anybody else?

Volland leads the team in both goals (9) and assists (5) in the Bundesliga so far this campaign. The German international is a bit of an all-rounder, capable of playing on the wing or through the middle.

Lukas Hradecky is looked upon as one of the better goalkeepers in the Bundesliga, while British fans may already be aware of brothers Lars and Sven Bender, who have 26 caps between them for the national team.

Midfielder Nadiem Amiri and towering centre-back Jonathan Tah were both included in the German squad for the last round of international fixtures.

Any weaknesses?

They're the least accurate crossers in the Bundesliga (26.5 per cent) so Rangers boss Steven Gerrard may find joy with a similar gameplan to the one utilised against Portuguese heavyweights Porto and Braga, where both opponents were encouraged to funnel play down the wings as the Ibrox manager counted on his centre-backs dealing with every high ball hit towards them. They should not discount the threat of Diaby, though. The French attacker has an enthusiasm for delivering the ball into the penalty box (10th most in the league) and does so with above average accuracy (36.36 per cent).

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They've been the bad boys of the German top flight so far this term, racking up six red cards, three more than any other side. Jamaican winger Leon Bailey has been sent off twice.

Anything else?

Rangers will likely avoid facing Volland after the 27-year-old suffered an ankle injury which could potentially end his season. Lucas Alario is expected to start in his place. The Argentine striker has netted 10 goals in 26 games so far this campaign.