Gio van Bronckhorst could return to the scene of one of his Rangers greatest goals as he looks to lead the Blues light into Champions League group phase.
Rangers’ The path becomes clearer as they look to join rivals Celtic and land a £35m jackpot – and it won’t be easy.
There’s a one in four chance for the Ibrox men to beat Monaco in the third qualifying round – and that will bring back great memories for van Bronckhorst who scored an impressive goal at the Louis II Stadium in a 1–0 group stage win in 2000.
Monaco won all six of their games Europa League group stage games this season but were eliminated by Braga, who of course fell to Rangers in the quarterfinals.
The cash-rich French side is still suffering after missing out on Champions League groups in an incredible final day in Ligue 1.
Monaco were leading Marseille on goal difference when they lost to Lens to equalize in the sixth minute of injury time.
They are also close to losing star midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, who is wanted by Champions League finalists Liverpool and Real Madrid – as well as PSG – for around £80m.
Rangers could also face Austria’s Sturm Graz and Belgian return kings Union Saint-Gilloise with Denmark’s Midtjylland set to be fourth – although they will have to face Fenerbahce or AEK Larnaca in the first round. .
Van Bronckhorst’s side avoid Benfica and PSV Eindhoven and Dynamo Kiev at this stage – with the Ukrainians also bidding to overtake the Turks or Cypriots.
However, it will be Kiev or PSV in the golden playoffs, assuming the relationship will be with the top seeds of Benfica and Rangers.
If Rangers qualify – and Benfica makes it to that list as well – they will enter Group 4 alongside Celtic.
And it seems to be one of the strongest group stages in a long time. When things settle down – and if the expected teams qualify – the pots look like this.
- City of Manchester
- Eintracht Frankfurt
- Real Madrid
- AC Milan
- Bayern Munich
- Paris Saint-Germain
- Liverpool or Ajax
- Liverpool or Ajax
- Atlético Madrid
- RB Leipzig
- Tottenham Hotspur.
- Borussia Dortmund
- FC Salzburg
- Shakhtar Donetsk
- Inter Milan
- Benfica *
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Rangers *
- Dynamo Zagreb *
- Red Star Belgrade *
- Oympiakos *
- Copenhagen *
- Club Brugge
Liverpool will come out on top if they win Saturday’s final in Paris against Real – otherwise Ajax will be on hand as Dutch champions.