Europa League last 16: Who could Rangers play? When is the draw? Potential Russian and English opponents

For the third consecutive season, Rangers have qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League.

After their knockout round play-off success against Borussia Dortmund with a gripping 6-4 aggregate victory, the attention of Rangers supporters now turns to who the Scottish champions will face next.

When is the draw?

The draw is scheduled to take place at 11am on Friday morning at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon. It will be streamed live on the UEFA website and will also be televised live on BT Sport 1.

This year's Europa League Final will take place in Seville on May 18. The last 16 draw is scheduled to go ahead at 11am on Friday morning. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Who can Rangers play?

Rangers will be paired with one of the eight Europa League group stage winners who all qualified directly for the round of 16 and are seeded.

When will the games be played?

The first leg will be on Thursday, March 10. The second leg will be on Thursday, March 17. Rangers will be at home in the first leg, with all seeded clubs having the second leg at home.

Rangers celebrate a famous win over Dortmund at Ibrox.

Who are Rangers’ eight possible opponents?

There are some familiar and recent foes among the eight seeded clubs who Rangers could face.

Lyon

The French club were comfortable winners of Group A, finishing eight points clear of runners-up Rangers.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Lyon won 2-0 at Ibrox in September before their only dropped points came in a 1-1 draw at home to van Bronckhorst’s side in a dead rubber on matchday six in December.

But the side coached by van Bronckhorst’s compatriot Peter Bosz are having a torrid domestic campaign. They are currently eighth in Ligue 1, a massive 21 points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, and were thrown out of the French Cup because of crowd trouble in their tie at Paris FC.

In the January transfer window, Lyon sold Brazilian star Bruno Guimaraes to Newcastle United for €50 million and signed French midfielder Roman Faivre from Brest for €15 million.

Bayer Leverkusen

Rangers could face West Ham and their Scottish manager David Moyes.

Winners of Group G, in which they defeated Celtic both home and away, Bayer Leverkusen finished three points clear of Real Betis.

Managed by Swiss coach Gerry Seoane, who was in charge of Young Boys when Rangers faced them in the Europa League group stage two seasons ago, they are currently third in the Bundesliga - eight points behind second placed Borussia Dortmund.

Former Celtic full-back Jeremie Frimpong is one of their key players, while Czech striker Patrik Schick - who netted his country’s spectacular goal against Scotland at Hampden in the Euro 2020 finals last summer - is their top scorer this season with 20 goals in 24 appearances.

Van Bronckhorst scored for Rangers in a 2-1 win away to Leverkusen in the second round of the UEFA Cup in 1998. The most recent meeting of the clubs saw Leverkusen beat Rangers 4-1 on aggregate in the last 16 of the Europa League two seasons ago.

Monaco

Undefeated winners of Group B, in which they finished three points clear of Real Sociedad, Monaco dropped into the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League in the play-off round by Shakhtar Donetsk.

They lie sixth in Ligue 1, currently outside the European qualification spots for next season, but have reached the semi-finals of the French Cup.

Monaco sacked Croatian Niko Kovac as their head coach last month, replacing him with the Belgian Philippe Clement who was previously with Club Brugge.

Cesc Fabregas is the highest profile member of Monaco’s squad, although the former Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea star has struggled for regular game time this season.

French international striker Wissam Ben Yedder is their leading scorer and has a potent partnership with German international Kevin Volland.

Rangers last faced Monaco in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2000-01 season. After a 2-2 draw at Ibrox, Rangers won 1-0 in Monte Carlo with a goal from van Bronckhorst.

Eintracht Frankfurt

Europa League semi-finalists three years ago, when they lost out on penalties to Chelsea, Eintracht were unbeaten in winning Group D as they finished three points clear of Olympiacos.

They are on a poor run of domestic form, with just one win from their last six Bundesliga matches seeing them slump to 10th place in the table.

Eintracht are coached by Oliver Glasner, an Austrian who joined them from Wolfsburg at the start of last season.

Their main threat is posed by Rafael Santos Borre, a Colombian international team-mate of Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, who is their top scorer this season after joining them from River Plate last summer.

Eintracht’s only previous meeting with Rangers came in the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1960-61 when they hammered the Ibrox side 12-4 on aggregate, going on to lose 7-3 against Real Madrid at Hampden in arguably the most famous European final of all time.

Red Star Belgrade

The Serbian champions dropped into the Europa League this season after losing to Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

Red Star - or Crvena zvezda as they are now formally referred to by UEFA - won a closely contested Group F by a point from Portuguese side Braga.

They have been coached by club legend and former Lazio and Inter Milan star Dejan Stankovic since 2019.

Red Star are currently five points behind their great rivals Partizan Belgrade in another two-horse race for the Serbian title this season.

Among their key players are Austrian international defender Aleksandar Dragovic and Serbian international winger Aleksandar Katai who has scored six goals in Europe this season.

Rangers have faced Red Star Belgrade three times in European competition, most recently beating them 1-0 on aggregate in the Champions League third qualifying round in 2007-08.

West Ham United

Back in Europe for the first time in five years, West Ham were convincing winners of Group H as they finished three points clear of Dinamo Zagreb.

They are enjoying a fine season under former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes in his second spell in charge of the club.

West Ham are currently fifth in the Premier League, challenging strongly for a top four spot and Champions League qualification.

Their richly talented squad includes Michail Antonio, a Jamaican international team-mate of Rangers forward Kemar Roofe, and current leading scorer Jarrod Bowen.

Rangers and West Ham have never faced each other in a competitive fixture and former Celtic defender Moyes would relish the opportunity to return to Glasgow next month.

Spartak Moscow

There must be serious doubts over Spartak’s continued involvement in the tournament as UEFA’s executive committee prepare to meet on Friday morning to assess the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After losing 4-0 on aggregate to Benfica in the Champions League third qualifying round, Spartak dropped into the Europa League where they won Group C ahead of Napoli and the expense of Leicester City.

They are now managed by former Rangers defender Paolo Vanoli, the Italian who spent a season and a half with the Ibrox club from 2003 to 2005.

Vanoli took charge in December after Portuguese coach Rui Vitoria was sacked as Spartak slumped to ninth place in the Russian Premier League table.

Rangers and Spartak’s only previous meeting came in the Europa League group stage three seasons ago which saw a 0-0 draw at Ibrox before the Russian side won 4-3 at home.

Galatasaray

The Turkish giants dropped into the Europa League after losing 7-2 on aggregate to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League second qualifying round. They then defeated St Johnstone 5-3 on aggregate on their way to the Europa League group stage.

Galatasaray were undefeated as they won Group E, finishing three points clear of Lazio, but they are enduring a wretched domestic campaign.

They are currently 13th in the Turkish Super League table, having lost 10 of their 26 games so far, and are closer to the relegation zone than the European qualification places.

It prompted their decision to sack veteran manager Fatih Terim in January, replacing him with Spanish coach Domenec Torrent who is a former assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Rangers’ most recent meeting with Galatasaray came last season when they defeated the Istanbul club 2-1 at Ibrox in a single-leg Europa League play-off round tie.

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