Bundesliga outfits RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt grabbed important first-leg wins over British opposition to open the semifinals of the Europa League Thursday evening, April 28.
With the road to Sevilla reduced to the last four, it was the German pair who took the initiative with the former Champions League semifinalists left it late first to fend off a spirited challenge by Scottish side Rangers, 1-0.
Left-back Angeliño fired in a sumptuous volley with five minutes remaining for the lone strike of the match. From a corner, the clearance fell through to the Spaniard who took it head-on to the crowded box and bounced past Allan McGregor.
It was a relieving result for Domenico Tedesco’s side, who were frustrated by the resolute defence that was set up by his opposing manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Leipzig 10 shots on goal (4 on target) and had 67% of the possession.
On the other hand, the Gers will have a week to recover from the setback, as Ibrox will be ready for the return leg.
In the other semifinal tie, Eintracht Frankfurt silenced the London Stadium as they hit in both halves to grab a vital 2-1 away win at West Ham United’s expense.
Two weeks since their famous victory over FC Barcelona, the German visitors struck early just fifty seconds in, with Ansgar Knauff heading home the Rafael Borre cross.
But the Hammers struck back twenty minutes later, with Michail Antonio providing the tying tap-in. The Jamaican forward fired home from a Kurt Zouma header, which in turn came from a Manuel Lanzini set-piece.
However, it was Eintracht who had the final say in the 54th minute, with Daichi Komada providing the winner after he pounced on the rebound of Djibril Sow’s initial effort to put them in the driving seat ahead of their home leg next week.