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UEFA Europa League semi-final first legs: What to look out for

Rangers visit a Leipzig side with a taste for drama in their UEFA Europa League semi-final while West Ham seek a second home win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rangers' James Tavernier, Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku, West Ham's Michail Antonio and Frankfurt's Filip Kostić
Rangers' James Tavernier, Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku, West Ham's Michail Antonio and Frankfurt's Filip Kostić

An all-German UEFA Europa League final remains on the cards as Rangers visit Leipzig in one of this week's semi-final openers while West Ham host Eintracht Frankfurt in the other.

Presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, we pore over the talking points.

Semi-final first legs

Leipzig vs Rangers
West Ham vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Matches kick off at 21:00 CEST on 28 April; second legs take place on 5 May.

Leipzig look for home boost against Rangers

All of Leipzig's Europa League goals so far

Leipzig have seen off top-class European contenders in this season's knockout phase – first Real Sociedad and then Atalanta after a bye through the round of 16 – but have been forced to do the hardest work away from home having drawn the home legs of both of those ties.

The side from the former East Germany are at home again for the first leg of their semi-final, and will hope for a result on the scale of their only previous home encounter with a Scottish side: a 2-0 win against Celtic in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Without injured striker Alfredo Morelos, Rangers might seem a less daunting proposition, but Leipzig boss Domenico Tedesco knows Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side are serious contenders. "They knocked Borussia Dortmund out over two legs, and when they can knock out teams of that calibre, you get a sense of the quality Rangers have," he said.

Hammers raised for the return of Frankfurt

All West Ham's Europa League goals so far

West Ham's most famous European success came at the expense of German opponents, the east London side overcoming 1860 München 2-0 in the 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup final at Wembley. They then beat Eintracht over two legs in the semi-finals of the 1975/76 competition, prevailing 3-1 at home after a 2-1 loss in Frankfurt, only to come up short in the decider against Anderlecht.

If they are to add a second continental trophy to their cabinet, the Hammers may have to overcome two Bundesliga sides: first Frankfurt, and then potentially Leipzig in the decider. David Moyes is encouraging his side to walk tall, saying: "We're not favourites, but I want the players to think that they are."

Frankfurt amazed the world when they eliminated Barcelona in the last round, winning 3-2 at the Camp Nou, but coach Oliver Glasner warned his side that "it needs cool heads now" as they close in on a potential all-German decider. Like West Ham, Frankfurt beat a German side to win their only European trophy to date, edging out Borussia Mönchengladbach on away goals in the 1980 UEFA Cup final.

When and where is the UEFA Europa League final?

This season's final takes place at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in Seville. The game will kick off at 21:00 CET on Wednesday 18 May.