Rangers predicted to reach Champions League group stages and be in higher pot than Celtic, possible opponents
This weekend could confirm what is widely expected, that Ange Postecoglou’s men will retain in the Scottish Premiership title, should they defeat Hearts on Sunday at Tynecastle Park, securing direct passage to the group stage of UEFA’s premier club competition, with Rangers, as league runners-up, entering at the third qualifying round of the league path.
Due to the Ibrox club’s recent success in Europe, including reaching the Europa League final last season, they will likely be seeded in qualification and will be required to progress through two two-legged ties to reach the group stage as they did this campaign when they defeated Belgian outfit Union St. Gilloise and Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. While no team has yet to confirm their place in the league path of the Champions League qualifying stages European competition analyst, Swiss Football Data, has predicted, using the current league tables from around Europe how it will develop.
Rangers could face Austria’s Sturm Graz, AEK Athens of Greece or Serbian side Backa Topola in the third qualifying round. The two possible play-off opponents are familiar, none other than Union St. Gilloise and or PSV. Those options could easily change as Europe’s leagues come to a close in the coming weeks. Should it play out as predicted with Rangers seeds, they would reach the group stages where they would enter Pot 3 alongside the likes of Lazio, Dinamo Zagreb and Braga due to the coefficient built up following impressive showings in the Europa League in recent seasons.
Despite being Scottish champions Celtic, due to their coefficient, would be in Pot 4 with Real Sociedad, Marseille, Galatasaray and Newcastle United some of the other teams predicted to be in the same pot. It is not set in stone and the Premiership league leaders, on course for a domestic treble, could end up being in Pot 3 if there are changes to the way different European leagues finish and the qualification rounds unfold.
Celtic and Rangers were both Pot 4 for this season’s Champions League with the duo finishing bottom of their respective groups.
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