Mainz 05 vs Bayer Leverkusen News, Stats and Prediction

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The Europa League returns on Thursday night as Borussia Dortmund host Rangers in the first leg of their knockout round match, with each team hoping to earn a place in the next stage of the competition.

The hosts have two of their last four fixtures, while the Gers head into this game on the back of three victories without conceding a single goal.

Borussia Dortmund got themselves back to winning ways at the weekend after losing their previous game against Bayern Leverkusen when they defeated Union Berlin 3-0.

A brace from Marco Reus and a goal by Raphael Guerreiro secured the result, which kept them second in the Bundesliga, just six points behind Bayern Munich.

However, they have been inconsistent as of late, being beaten in two of their last four outings, one of which saw them knocked out DFB-Pokal, and they will be hoping that form does not follow them into this competition.

The German outfit dropped down from the Champions League after finishing third in Group C, missing out on second place by goal difference, as Sporting Lisbon and Ajax finished above them.

Dortmund did win half of their matches in that tournament, including their most recent European fixture, which resulted in an emphatic 5-0 victory over Besiktas, and they will be wanting to take that form into this match.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst on February 2, 2022© Reuters

However, Rangers have not conceded a single goal in their previous three matches, turning their poor form at the start of the year around quickly with some impressive results in all competitions.

The Gers struggled at the turn of the year, which led to Celtic overtaking them in the Scottish Premiership as they slumped into second place, but since being beaten by the Hoops they have scored 10 goals in three games.

Despite that, the club does not have a great history against German teams in European competition, having been beaten in seven of their previous eight matches, with their last win being in 1998.

These two teams have not faced each other since the 1999-00 season, which makes this a fresh match-up, and the Gers have been able to progress in 10 out of their 14 most recent two-legged fixtures in the Europa League (or UEFA Cup).

Three goals in the first half saw Rangers knock out Annan Athletic in the Scottish Cup, which also saw them rest several first-team players, who should now be fresh for Thursday.

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