A 2-2 draw at Ibrox, where momentum in the tie flowed between Ruud van Nistelrooy’s and Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s teams in an almost pendular 90-minute swing left both sides’ ambitions resting on 90 minutes – plus potential for more in the return meeting.
When is the game?
The second leg of the Champions League play-off will be held in the Phillips Stadion next Wednesday night (August 24) with an 8pm kick off.
What is at stake?
For both teams, plenty but for Rangers there is redemption as well as riches.
Ibrox revelled in hearing the famous Champions League theme tune blare from the PA system after a 12-year absence. The crowd will be desperate for a three-peat as will the club given the past decade or so and their Europa League Final run last season.
An estimated income between £30m and £40m can be generated from qualification for the group stages with a basic £12m just for kicking off each of the six games. Add to that win and draw awards at £2m and £700,000 even before gate receipts and it is a lucrative entry for each club – particularly important for Rangers when Celtic are already there and benefitting, courtesy of last season’s cinch Premiership win.
Rangers and PSV both hold designs on that spot – both were involved in the inaugural Champions League in 1992/93 though kept apart with one in each group, and little separated them in the first leg.
Who can play?
James Sands and Tom Lawrence carried bookings from the win over Union Saint-Gilloise but avoided further punishment which would have ruled them out of the second leg.
Rangers have both A and B squads to choose from but the likes of Kemar Roofe, Filip Helander and Ianis Hagi were left out through their long-term injuries. The B list includes homegrown youngsters like Leon King, Adam Devine and Alex Lowry as well as further Academy and B team players included, but unlikely to be involved in any capacity.
For PSV, they did not carry any bookings from the previous round win over Monaco, therefore Ruud van Nistelrooy has an unrestricted selection – but three were cautioned when things got feisty at Ibrox.
Any signings made in the next eight days would not be eligible for registration.
Who will they face if successful?
The seedings have already been laid out for the top two pots for the group stages, and the draw takes place next Thursday (August 25). Most qualifiers via the play-offs enter the fourth and final pot as lowest seeds in each group but the outcome of Dynamo Kiev v Benfica could also see Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team enter the draw in the third pot.
The place is precarious though and a Benfica win would see their coefficient rating of 61 take precedence over Rangers’ 50.25 with a Portuguese place in Pot Three. If the Ukranians win – with their 44 point coefficient rating – Rangers’ could hold onto the final spot which, theoretically, should give them a slightly easier draw.
Should PSV qualify, they would join Celtic in Pot Four.
And if they are eliminated?
The loser over the two legs will automatically drop into the Europa League, ensuring European participation until at least the turn of the year but without quite the riches that the top competition can offer.
A £4m parachute payment will cushion the fall for whichever team does not prevail next Wednesday.
What are the odds?
Before the first leg finished in an enthralling, exhaustive draw at Ibrox, the bookmakers made Rangers slight favourites to qualify. But it all hinges on next Wednesday night in the Netherlands.