Europa League draw - the lowdown on Rangers' Group A opponents

The return of Moussa Dembele to Ibrox, another trip to Prague and a first ever competitive meeting with Brondby await Rangers after they were drawn in Group A of the Europa League today.

Former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele is eyeing a return to Glasgow to face Rangers in the Europa League with Lyon. (Photo by MIGUEL A. LOPES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s an intriguing set of opponents for the Scottish champions as Steven Gerrard’s squad look forward to a fourth consecutive season of group stage football in Uefa’s second tier tournament.

Lyon

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The French club managed just a fourth place finish in Ligue 1 last season, prompting a change of management which saw Petr Bosz take charge. The Dutch coach is well known to Rangers, having been in charge of Bayer Leverkusen when they knocked them out of the Europa League in the last 32 two seasons ago.

The most familiar name in Lyon’s squad is former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele who scored nine goals in seven matches against Rangers during his successful spell in Glasgow.

Lyon lost star man Memphis Depay to Barcelona this summer but have signed Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri from Liverpool.

Sparta Prague

After finishing second in the Czech First League to city rivals Slavia Prague, Rangers’ nemesis in the last 16 of the Europa League last season, Sparta are the early pacesetters this year after winning their first three domestic games.

Like Rangers, they were eliminated in the third qualifying round of the Champions League where they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Monaco.

Sparta, who beat Celtic 4-1 both home and away in the Europa League group stage last season, won their only previous meeting with Rangers in a European Cup first round tie back in 1991.

Brondby

Danish champions Brondby missed out on a place in the Champions League group stage this week when they lost 4-2 on aggregate to Red Bull Salzburg of Austria in their play-off round tie.

But in dropping into the Europa League, they are making their first appearance in the group stage of a Uefa competition since 2005.

Brondby have made a limp start to the defence of their domestic title, failing to win any of their first six Danish Superliga fixtures under coach Niels Frederiksen.

It’s their first competitive fixture against Rangers but they have won all three of their previous ties against Scottish clubs, beating Dundee United (1993), Aberdeen (1996) and Hibs (2016).

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