• STV
  • MySTV

Europa League preview: Spartak in turmoil, Leipzig impress

Rangers and Celtic's Europa League opponents are experiencing mixed fortunes.

Draw: Spartak Moscow and Rangers played out a 0-0 draw at Ibrox.
Draw: Spartak Moscow and Rangers played out a 0-0 draw at Ibrox. SNS

Celtic and Rangers are preparing for crucial Europa League fixtures this Thursday.

Managers Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard are getting set to face teams currently experiencing different fortunes.

The Hoops host Bundesliga high-fliers RB Leipzig at Celtic Park, while the Light Blues are in Moscow to take on an embattled Spartak side.

Here we run the rule over how the Glasgow pair's opponents have fared since the last round of matches:

'Evil forces' working at Spartak

Pressure: Raul Riancho doesn't expect to remain as Spartak Moscow boss for long.
Pressure: Raul Riancho doesn't expect to remain as Spartak Moscow boss for long. SNS

Spartak visited Ibrox in crisis after sacking Massimo Carrera but managed to grind out a 0-0 draw.

The Moscow side haven't been able to steady the ship since then, though, with a fourth straight home league loss all but ending their hopes of defending the Russian title already.

A fortnight ago caretaker boss Raul Riancho rested some key players against Rangers in order to prepare for a crucial league fixture with Rubin Kazan.

That match ended 1-1, with a last-gasp strike by the home side pegging Spartak back.

Riancho bagged his first win next time out, defeating Anzi in the cup.

But a 2-1 loss to FC Ural on their own patch at the weekend has sent Spartak back into apparent disarray, with the Spanish head coach blasting the club's support in the aftermath.

Riancho was quoted as claiming Spartak fans were out to destroy the club and suggested an "external evil force" was behind their current woes.

Spartak hope they can ease the mounting pressure by putting together a European run, with Riancho putting Thursday's match into the "must-win" category.

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1432607-spartak-boss-we-have-to-be-more-attacking-against-rangers/ | default

Leipzig build from the back

Sidelined: Germany forward Time Werner (left) is missing for RB Leipzig against Celtic.
Sidelined: Germany forward Time Werner (left) is missing for RB Leipzig against Celtic. PA

Leipzig showcased their defensive solidity as they shut out Celtic to win 2-0.

That strong rearguard effort has been the platform for an impressive run of form of late, which sees them sitting fourth in the Bundesliga and just five points behind leaders Dortmund.

A comfortable 3-0 win away to Hertha Berlin at the weekend took RB's run of clean sheets to six matches in all competitions.

They have the best defensive record in the German top-flight, having shipped only nine goals across games.

At the top end of the pitch the news isn't quite so bright for the Parkhead visitors, however, as they have been dealt a twin injury blow.

Germany forward Timo Werner, who sat out the Hoops' visit to Leipzig, had found his shooting boots of late after scoring four goals in the last two games, but he misses out with a toe injury.

Towering attacker Youssouf Poulsen led the line impressively a fortnight ago but he's tweaked his back, leaving boss Ralf Rangnick short of options up front.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.