A Moussa Diaby goal was enough for Bayer Leverkusen to complete a comfortable 4-1 aggregate win over Rangers and set up a UEFA Europa League quarter-final clash with Inter Milan on Monday, 10 August.
Leverkusen 1-0 Rangers (4-1 on aggregate)
Goal: 1-0 Diaby (51')
Carrying a 3-1 advantage from the first leg, Leverkusen could afford to take things a little bit easier, but even they would not have expected to have been allowed so much of the ball. Their guests seemed to be waiting for a chance on the counterattack, but Leverkusen were not going to permit that and had chances to increase their aggregate advantage. The instrumental Kai Havertz went closest with a sweetly struck volley which caressed the crossbar on its way over, and he squandered an even better opportunity with only Allan McGregor to beat in a first half dominated by the hosts.
Diaby gave Leverkusen a deserved lead five minutes into the second half, taking Charles Aranguiz's excellent lofted ball down on his chest before hammering it into the roof of the net with his second touch. Havertz could and perhaps should have made it two moments later when he was denied by McGregor with his second one-on-one opportunity, but with such a sizeable advantage and the ideal prospect of three games in a fortnight to come, they could be forgiven for easing off the pedal. Rangers were still unable to trouble them, as Peter Bosz's men set up a quarter-final tie with Inter Milan in Düsseldorf on Monday.
- Florian Wirtz – Leverkusen's youngest ever Bundesliga debutant – made his Champions League debut, aged 17 years, three months and three days.
- Leverkusen are into the Europa League quarter-finals for the fifth time.
- Leverkusen have now progressed from 17 of their 19 two-legged knockout ties after leading from the first leg.
- This was only Leverkusen's second clean sheet in their past 12 Europa League matches.
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c) (Dragovic 68'), Tapsoba, S. Bender (Tah 77'), Sinkgraven - Palacios (Stanilewicz 87'), Aranguiz - Wirtz (Baumgartlinger 68'), Havertz, Diaby (Bailey 68') – Volland
Subs: Özcan, Lomb, Tah, Dragovic, Bailey, Alario, Baumgartlinger, Wendell, Stanilewicz
Out: Amiri (not included), Bellarabi (match fitness), Demirbay (suspended), Jedvaj (ineligible), Paulinho (knee), Pohjanpalo (ineligible), Retsos (ineligible), Weiser (suspended)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Rangers: McGregor - Tavernier (c) (Patterson 77'), Goldson, Helander, Barisic - Davis (Arfield 66'), Jack – Kent (Jones 66'), Aribo, Barker (Hagi 60') - Morelos (Stewart 77')
Subs: Firth, Edmundson, Hagi, Jones, Stewart, McCrorie, Barjonas, Arfield, Mayo, Patterson
Out: Balogun (ineligible), Bassey (ineligible), Defoe (hamstring), Itten (ineligible), Kamara (suspended), Katic (knee), McLaughlin (ineligible), Roofe (ineligible)
Coach: Steven Gerrard
AS IT HAPPENED
LEVERKUSEN 1-0 RANGERS (4-1 on aggregate)
Goal: 1-0 Diaby (51')
Can a team be thrashed 1-0? It's one to ponder, and this game would be a textbook example thereof. Leverkusen had 65 per cent of possession, 15 efforts on goal to Rangers' two and were superior throughout.
Bosz's side are now deservedly into the Europa League quarter-finals next week.
90' TWO MINUTES MORE
We're into stoppage time now, Leverkusen are home and dry.
87' HAVERTZ HITS THE SIDE NETTING
Dragovic plays a lovely ball into Havertz's run down the right. He gets into the box but there are no other Leverkusen shirts in there with him, leaving the Germany international no option but to go it alone. He accelerates away from his marker and tries to squeeze a shot in at the near post from a tight angle, but it goes the wrong side of the post.
Shortly afterwards, Palacios is replaced by Stanilewicz.
85' BAILEY WITH A SIGHT OF GOAL
Sinkgraven trots forward down the left and the ball eventually comes to Bailey. He cuts on to his weaker right foot and tries to get a shot away from the edge of the box, but it's blocked by a lunging defender.
81' CLOSE FROM STEWART!
Rangers press high and in numbers for the first time in the game. Leverkusen try to play out from the back but the space is very limited - forcing Hradecky into a mistake. His attempted pass is intercepted and played to Stewart, whose shot towards the unguarded net goes just wide.
77' MORE SUBS
Leverkusen make another change, bringing on Tah for Sven Bender in central defence, while Rangers bring on two fresh faces in Patterson and Stewart. Morelos and Tavernier are the players to make way.
75' NICE FROM HAGI
Hagi has had some nice touches since coming on and Rangers do look a bit more threatening now with him on the pitch. The midfielder dips a shoulder in the centre of the pitch and tries to play through Morelos, but the striker had run in a different direction and the opening is wasted.
71' TAPSOBA OFF THE LINE!
Rangers have their best chance of the game as a free-kick from the right is swung towards the back post. Hradecky comes to claim it but misjudges the flight of the ball, allowing Goldson a header at the back. It looks to be the equaliser, but Tapsoba is alive to the danger and hooks the ball off the line!
68' TRIPLE SUBSTITUTION FOR LEVERKUSEN
Leverkusen make their first substitutions, as Bailey comes on for Diaby on the left wing, while Baumgartlinger replaces Wirtz in midfield and Dragovic takes Lars Bender's place in defence.
68' COOLING BREAK
The players get another little breather.
66' DOUBLE SUB FOR RANGERS
Rangers are really going for it now - and they have to - with Kent and Davis going off, and Jones and Arfield coming on.
60' FIRST CHANGE FOR RANGERS
Hagi replaces Barker for the visitors as Gerrard looks to breathe fresh life into his attack.
59' VOLLAND VERY NEARLY THROUGH
Sinkgraven makes headway down the left and tries to thread an ambitious ball between to Rangers defenders for Volland. It very nearly comes off, and only a last-ditch lunge prevents the Leverkusen forward from being clean through.
54' HAVERTZ AGAIN!
Havertz must make it 2-0 after being played through with just McGregor to beat and on his favoured left foot. He shoots low for the far corner, but the Rangers goalkeeper makes a good save.
51' GOOAAAAL! DIABY BREAKS THE DEADLOCK!
Leverkusen's pressure finally takes it's toll. Aranguiz collects the ball in midfield and spots the run of Diaby, floating a ball over the defence towards him. Diaby takes it on his chest and then lifts a right-footed shot past McGregor and into the net.
It's now 4-1 on aggregate, meaning Rangers - who still haven't had a shot in this game - need to score four to go through.
50' TAPSOBA HEADS WIDE
Leverkusen have a string of corners to get the half under way, the last of which ends with Wirtz's delivery finding the head of Tapsoba, who can't keep his effort on target.
46' SECOND HALF
Rangers get the action started again.
Leverkusen are well on top and have had a number of good chances to score, with Havertz having the two best ones - first rattling the crossbar before firing wide when one-on-one. The home team have had 70 per cent of possession and didn't allow Rangers a single attempt at goal in the first half. Still, Bosz's men will need to score, otherwise their guests could get back into the tie with a goal.
43' LEVERKUSEN GO 4-ON-3
Wirtz charges forward on the counter following Rangers' first corner of the game. He has three teammates with him against three visiting defenders. The teenager plays the ball to his left to Diaby, before receiving it back almost instantly. He takes a touch and shoots, but his effort is blocked for a corner.
40' ARANGUIZ ALMOST SCORES!
The Chile international charges into the box with a late run to get on the end of a corner, but his powerful header is straight at McGregor, who makes a good reflex save. A goal wouldn't have counted though, as the referee blows for a foul by Sven Bender.
38' OVER FROM DIABY
Havertz collects the ball on the left this time and lifts his head to see Diaby unmarked on the right. He plays a laser-guided pass over the defence and into Diaby's run, but the Frenchman can't keep his volley down on his weaker right foot, and the ball goes well off target.
36' HAVERTZ ELUSIVE
Leverkusen's trio of attacking midfielders are constantly swapping positions, although Wirtz tends to be playing more centrally, with Havertz drifting out to the right wing more often than not. He's also dropping deep to receive the ball though, popping up in places where markers don't like to follow him. As such, he's seeing a lot of the ball and is dictating things for the hosts.
33' DIABY DRILLS OVER
Diaby tries his luck from about 25 yards out, but his shot is always rising and sails well over.
31' BATTLING FROM PALACIOS
Kent tries to chase a ball down the left wing, and if he can get there first then he'll be in on goal. However, Palacios has spied the danger and tracks his run, allowing teammates to get back and help clear.
28' BACK UNDER WAY
Rangers needed that little respite more than Leverkusen, but it seems Gerrard's efforts to rejig a few things with his players were unsuccessful, as the hosts have settled back into their rhythm and are keeping the ball well once again.
26' COOLING BREAK
There's a short pause to give the players a chance to drink some water.
22' WIDE FROM HAVERTZ!
Havertz beats the offside trap with a diagonal run to latch onto a long ball over the top. His control is perfect and he only has McGregor to beat... but his shot rolls inches wide of the post. So close!
20' LEVERKUSEN DOMINATING
The hosts are camped out in Rangers' half and have had 68 per cent of possession so far. While they haven't been able to get the goal that would surely put the tie to bed, they haven't allowed the visitors to get anywhere near Hradecky.
16' HAVERTZ HITS THE BAR!
It's a phenomenal hit from the Leverkusen attacker, taking the ball on the volley on the right-hand side of the penalty area. He catches it superbly, but the ball cannons off the top of the bar and bounces over.
15' ARANGUIZ BOOKED
The Leverkusen midfielder is the first player to receive a yellow card, having slid in from behind on Morelos.
11' LEVERKUSEN FINDING THEIR STRIDE
Over the past few minutes the home team's attacks have become quicker and more purposeful. They haven't seriously tested McGregor in goal yet, but there's been some neat interplay in the final third, with Rangers defenders chasing shadows. Only the final ball has been missing for Leverkusen.
9' DIABY AGAIN
Lars Bender drives forward from right-back, breaking into midfield and going past a couple of players through sheer force of will (and a neat one-two with Havertz). He eventually finds Diaby wide on the left, but his attempted shot is deflected wide for a corner.
5' FIRST GLIMPSE OF DIABY
This is the first real opening of the game as Diaby is allowed space on the left to run at Tavernier. His pace take him past the Rangers defender and the Frenchman dinks a ball into the box looking for Volland, but it's not quite high enough to clear a covering defender, and the visitors clear.
3' LEVERKUSEN KEEPING BALL
The onus is on Rangers to attack and take the game to the hosts, and it seems Leverkusen are hoping to lure them forward. Bosz's side are calmly keeping the ball in defence and midfield, not taking any risks as yet in the final third. Rangers aren't pressing high, but lurking around the halfway line.
Away we go, then. Kevin Volland gets the ball rolling at the BayArena.
The Leverkusen coach is taking nothing for granted, despite his side having scored three away goals in the first leg:
"If you look at Rangers' pre-season results, they won four times and kept four clean sheets, and they did so against good teams like Nice and Lyon. You can't do that if you're a bad team. It won't be an easy game at all."
This is just the fourth competitive meeting between these teams. Leverkusen may have won the first leg, but that was also their first victory over Rangers.
The previous two encounters came in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup, when Rangers triumphed 2-1 in Leverkusen, before drawing 1-1 in Scotland.
RANGERS TEAM NEWS
Visiting head coach Steven Gerrard begins with Morelos up front again, with Defo injured and Itten ineligible. Former Freiburg man Kent is one to watch for regular Bundesliga viewers; he's on form and scored the only goal against Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier League season opener recently.
Helander is something of a surprise inclusion at the back, as Edmundson was outstanding in pre-season, playing in four games without conceding a single goal.
LEVERKUSEN TEAM NEWS
Peter Bosz's hand may have been forced somewhat due to injuries to Karim Bellarabi, Paulinho and Kerem Demirbay, with Nadiem Amiri also unavailable, but it was still something of a surprise to see 17-year-old Florian Wirtz handed a start in attacking midfielder ahead of Leon Bailey, who is on the bench.
Exequiel Palacios, who arrived at the club in January this year, makes just his sixth appearance for Leverkusen, with fellow central midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger among the substitutes.
INTER MILAN AWAIT
The winner of this tie will face Serie A side Inter Milan in the one-legged quarter-final knockout tie on Monday 10 August, the Italians having defeated Getafe to get to that stage. The match will take place in Düsseldorf, just a stone's throw away from Leverkusen.
HELLO AND WELCOME!
Leverkusen are out to finish the job they started in Glasgow on 12 March, having earned a 3-1 away win in the first leg.