It is the same round they entered this season, in the league path section, when they progressed through two ties, defeating Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium then Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in the play-off round before being handed the most difficult of draws in the group, against Liverpool, Napoli and Ajax.
Michael Beale’s men will play the first leg of the third qualifying round on August 8/9 with the second leg a week later, August 15. It was revealed on Sunday that Connor Goldson may face a race to be fit for the first qualifier due to a foot injury.
Slowly but surely, possible opponents are becoming evident as leagues draw to a conclusion across Europe. Rangers will be seeded for the third qualifying tie. As things stand Austrian side Sturm Graz are an option after they secured runners-up spot in the Bundesliga behind Salzburg. The Red Bull outfit won the league for the tenth successive season. Sturm Graz are confirmed as unseeded.
Another possible option will be either Čukarički or TSC Backa Topola of Serbia. With one fixture remaining they are separated by two points with TSC currently sitting second. They play their final matches this weekend with Čukarički taking on champions Red Star Belgrade in the cup final a few days prior. Whichever side finishes second will be unseeded.
The runners-up from Ligue 1 in France will also enter the third qualifying round of the league path but the seeding is yet to be determined with Lens and Marseillie battling it out for second behind champions Paris Saint-Germain. The likelihood is it will be Lens who opened up a five-point lead over the weekend with just two rounds of fixtures remaining.
Rangers will avoid a tricky tie against Portuguese cracks Braga, who finished third ahead of Sporting CP. Although they shouldn’t prompt too much fear with the Ibrox side having beaten them twice in the Europa League in recent years, including the run to the final in 2022 when they won 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter-final with the second leg going to extra-time.
As well as Braga, PSV or Ajax will also be seeded alongside Rangers. PSV enjoy a three-point cushion going into the last weekend of the Eredivisie season with Feyenoord having wrapped up the title already. Rangers won 3-2 in aggregate over PSV in this season's play-off round, Antonio Colak scoring the only going of the second-leg in Eindhoven. In the group stage, Ajax defeated Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men 4-0 and 3-1.
If Rangers were to progress from the third qualifying round they will most likely be seeded due to their impressive coefficient. There is a scenario where the club go into Pot 3 rather than Pot 4 if they make it to the group stage. Rivals Celtic will most likely be in Pot 4 despite qualifying automatically after winning the league.