UEL last 16 draw: at least Rangers will avoid Leverkusen

UEL last 16 draw: at least Rangers will avoid Leverkusen
SEVILLE, SPAIN - DECEMBER 14: Philippe Clement, Manager of Rangers, looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 match between Real Betis and Rangers FC at Estadio Benito Villamarin on December 14, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

The small matter of the Europa League last 16 has surfaced, with the draw on Friday morning.

Rangers of course managed the miracle of winning the group from the position we were in, and bypassed the toxic playoff round, which, in fairness, we negotiated very well in 2022 – just ask Borussia Dortmund.

But this time round it’s straight into the last 16, and the teams we’re avoiding, for now, are epic:

Atalanta, Brighton, Leverkusen, Liverpool, Slavia Praha, Villarreal, West Ham.

These are the seeded teams, like ourselves, and mercifully we will not face them in this round at least.

4th in Italy, 7th in PL, 1st in Germany, 1st in England, 2nd in Czechia, 13th in LaLiga, 9th in PL…

We say this every year but this really does look, by a distance, like the strongest Europa League there’s ever been. The top two in England and Germany is literally ridiculous, 2nd in Czechia, 4th in Italy – this is ‘mental’

In terms of the teams we could face:

Freiburg, Lens, Qarabag, Braga, Rennes, AC Milan, Toulouse, Benfica, Roma, Feyenoord, Marseille, Shakhtar, Sparta Prague, Galatasaray, Sporting, Young Boys – those 16 will be whittled down to 8 tonight.

We’re not sure it gets much easier in there; some absolute goliaths of European football. Qarabag about the only side there few will ‘fear’ (despite the location), but the rest are all tough tough opponents not much of a drop from our own group.

It doesn’t really ‘matter’ who Rangers get, our priority 10000% is 56, and winning the league. We already have a trophy under this manager, domestic is our aim.

We do NOT want a European adventure to detract from domestic.

But it is nice to have a glamour tie to look forward to, and we’ll see who we get tomorrow.

Just be glad it won’t be Leverkusen…

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