Who could Rangers face in Europa League knockout, when is the draw, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Benfica possible opponents

Ranger ensured they would have European football in the New Year after defeating Sparta Prague in the Europa League group stages at Ibrox.

Rangers have reached the knockout rounds of the Europa League after defeating Sparta Prague 2-0.. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The Scottish champions, in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first match in charge, won 2-0 on Thursday evening thanks to a brace from Alfredo Morelos.

Three points secured second place behind Lyon and progression from the group stages of the Europa League for the third year running.

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Due to the changes in European competition with the addition of the Conference League, Rangers, as runners-up, will return to action before the winners of the groups.

Rangers will face a double header in February in what is now known as the knockout round play-offs for a place in the last-16.

Van Bronckhorst's men will be pitched against one of the teams dropping from the Champions League having finished third.

Therefore there is a strong likelihood of facing tough opposition.

Of the eight teams dropping into the Europa League from Uefa’s premier competition, three have already been decided: Borussia Dortmund, Zenit St Petersburg and Sheriff Tiraspol.

The other five teams currently occupying third place in their group are: Sevilla, Atalanta, Benfica, AC Milan and RB Leipzig.

That could change on the final day of the Champions League on December 7 and 8 with the likes of Atletico Madrid, Porto, Barcelona, Villarreal and Club Brugge in a position where they could still end up third.

The draw for the knockout play-off will take place on December 13 and as things stand a pairing with Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol would present the best chance of progression.

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