Rangers 1-3 Leverkusen: Bailey caps fine Bayer display

Kai Havertz, Charles Aránguiz and Leon Bailey steered the German side into a commanding position in Glasgow.

Leverkusen celebrate  after their 3-1 win away to Rangers
Leverkusen celebrate after their 3-1 win away to Rangers Getty Images

Three clinical finishes put Leverkusen in the ascendancy in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against Rangers.

RANGERS vs LEVERKUSEN: AS IT HAPPENED

Match at a glance

Chances at either end were few and far between in the first half, but it was Leverkusen who edged in front in the 37th minute. Charles Aránguiz's attempted cross was handled by George Edmundson and Kai Havertz calmly sent Allan McGregor the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Lukáš Hrádecký denied Alfredo Morelos from James Tavernier's through ball as Leverkusen withstood plenty of pressure in the second half, but the visitors took the chance to double their lead in the 67th minute when Aránguiz expertly swept in from Tavernier's clearance.

Rangers gave themselves hope when Edmundson headed in Tavernier's corner, but Leverkusen responded impressively. Aránguiz struck the bar with a free-kick before Leon Bailey curled in to put Peter Bosz's charges firmly back in the box seat.

Kai Havertz strokes Leverkusen in front from the penalty spot
Kai Havertz strokes Leverkusen in front from the penalty spotGetty Images

View from the stadium: Alex O'Henley, Rangers reporter

A much-improved performance from Rangers in the second half. The arrival of Kamberi injected some forward impetus and despite conceding a second against the run of play, Gerrard's side managed to pull one back through Edmundson. Bailey's third put paid to any notion of another improbable comeback and Leverkusen are now strong favourites to progress to the last eight, having ended Rangers' unbeaten run of 17 European games at Ibrox dating back to 2011.

Visitors' view: James Thorogood, Leverkusen reporter

Having kept Ibrox quiet with a dominant first half before doubling their advantage in the second, Leverkusen will be disappointed with how nervy proceedings became in Glasgow. They were a class above for long periods but needed Bailey's late third to strengthen their foundation and put them on course to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the UEFA Europa League era.

Leon Bailey curls in Leverkusen's late third goal
Leon Bailey curls in Leverkusen's late third goalGetty Images

Reaction

Steven Gerrard, Rangers manager: "I think the way the game panned out we had a really good shape in the first half, but I wanted us to to be a bit more on the front foot, more aggressive. I thought we showed them too much respect. Second half I thought we were much better. We were a bit more aggressive and we got our rewards. At 2-1, you’re still thinking it’s not the end of the world, stay in there, we might get a late equaliser, but I’m extremely disappointed with the third goal."

Borna Barišić, Rangers defender: "It was a difficult game. We know Leverkusen are a very good team and they showed that tonight. Congratulations to them. At the start of the game we didn't want to be too open. We were more aggressive in the second half, but we also conceded two. That's probably the best team we have faced [in the competition]. We have a hard job to do now in Leverkusen, but we are not going to surrender."

Jonathan Tah, Leverkusen defender: "Rangers created a lot of pressure in the second half – but for the most part we managed to play down the threat. The substitutions were good, it’s always important to bring on fresh players. For them then to come on and score is brilliant."

Lukáš Hrádecký, Leverkusen goalkeeper: "It's nice that we could extend our current run of success. It was a great win for us. The fact that we are taking our chances so efficiently at the moment is making us really strong."

George Edmundson rallies Rangers after pulling a goal back
George Edmundson rallies Rangers after pulling a goal backGetty Images

Key stats

  • Leverkusen have scored in ten of their last 11 away games.
  • Leverkusen have won 12 of their last 14 games, losing only once.
  • In Leverkusen's last 14 matches, they have scored a total of 14 goals in the final 18 minutes of those games.
  • Twelve of Rangers' last 13 goals have been scored in the second half.
  • Rangers have scored in all nine home games in this season's competition (including qualifiers).

Line-ups

Rangers: McGregor; Tavernier (Polster 85), Goldson, Edmundson, Barišic; Davis, Kamara (Hagi 68), Arfield; Kent, Morelos, Aribo (Kamberi 54)

Leverkusen: Hrádecký; Tah, Dragović, Tapsoba (Paulinho 68); Wendell, Aránguiz, Weiser, Demirbay (Baumgartlinger 82), Havertz; Diaby, Bellarabi (Bailey 62)