Bayer Leverkusen have tweeted to confirm they will host the Europa League Last 16 second-leg tie against Rangers in early August, following an update from UEFA.
UEFA club competitions have been on hold since March amid the global health crisis, but the resumption of both the Champions League and Europa League is now just a matter of weeks away.
The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the Europa League are set to take place over just one leg at neutral venues in Germany, as will the last 16 ties which were unable to start in March.
However, until this week, there had been a lack of clarity around the arrangements for clubs who managed to play the first leg of their ties and saw only their second leg fixtures postponed.
On Thursday afternoon, though, UEFA tweeted to announce that their Executive Committee had decided that “the remaining UCL and UEL round of 16 second-leg matches will be played at home teams’ stadiums – where they are currently playing domestic matches in their own stadiums, and where travelling is possible without restrictions for the visiting clubs.”
Given that Bayer Leverkusen had been playing home fixtures up until the conclusion of the Bundesliga, the announcement appeared to open the door for them to host the Gers at the BayArena and the German club tweeted shortly afterwards to confirm the news.
ℹ️ The second leg vs. Rangers FC will be played in the BayArena https://t.co/g8VM76OBN6
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) July 9, 2020
This is obviously a boost for Leverkusen and something of a blow for Rangers. Yet, it’s undoubtedly the fairest option.
While Rangers would have preferred to take on Peter Bosz’s side at a neutral venue, given that the Gers benefitted from playing the first leg at a packed Ibrox just prior to the lockdown, Leverkusen are entitled to home comforts for the reverse fixture.
Steven Gerrard’s men won’t have to worry about a hostile atmosphere but they will have their work cut out against a Leverkusen side who have a 3-1 aggregate advantage and will be in familiar surroundings.