Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz has called for the Europa League to be put on hold until the coronavirus panic passes after claiming the competition is being devalued by closed-door clashes.
The Germans face Rangers at a packed-out Ibrox on Thursday but next week’s Rhineland return will be staged with fans locked out of the BayArena as German authorities battle to combat the spread of the disease.
And Bosz says that means it is advantage Gers ahead of their last 16 showdown.
There is still no guarantee the competition will even be completed after UEFA were forced to call off Sevilla’s first-leg meeting with Roma as well as the Inter Milan-Getafe tie in response to the Spanish government’s decision to place travel restrictions on flights from Italy.
Manchester United’s clash with LASK in Austria and Wolves’ first leg against Olympiacos in Athens are set to go ahead behind closed doors.
Former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund coach Bosz knows there is no easy solution but the Dutchman was clear when he insisted playing games in empty stadiums is not the way to go.
He said: “Absolutely it’s advantage Rangers but they are not to blame because they haven’t decided it.
“I’m looking forward to playing here – but when you play in front of home fans they are for you and that’s an advantage if we, in turn, are playing in front of an empty stadium.
“To be honest, the competition has been devalued. Fans should be there. No one is to blame, but it is strange.
“What is happening in Europe at the moment is strange and next Monday (against Werder Bremen) we will play without fans which is something we shouldn’t do as we play for the fans as professional soccer players and they are not allowed to be there.
“I don’t know if it will be difficult to motivate the players as I haven’t experienced this before. I watched Juve against Inter behind closed doors and it was strange – you could hear everyone in the stadium saying everything.
“I don’t see anything different back in Germany. I live in Dusseldorf which they say is at the centre of it (coronavirus) so take care! But I don’t see anything different on the streets, all is normal.”