Bayer UEL triumph could get Rangers into the Champions League

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Bayer UEL triumph could get Rangers into the Champions League
Bayer Leverkusen's Spanish head coach Xabi Alonso is pictured prior to the start of the German first division Bundesliga football match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany on May 5, 2024. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the fatalistic disappointment of Rangers (almost certainly) not winning the Scottish Premiership (again) and being denied an automatic Champions League group spot (again) there is a merciful glimmer of light anyway.

And it’s called Bayer Leverkusen.

With Xabi Alonso’s German juggernaut creating history in all competitions this season and potentially becoming the single greatest season in football history, the knock-on effect would massively boost Rangers in their attempts to get to the group stage.

Simple terms – if Bayer achieve the staggeringly-impossible-yet-probable-under-them Europa League triumph, it will promote Portuguese giants Benfica to receiving an automatic group (now called league in the new format) spot themselves despite finishing second in their league.

Why? Because Bayer are German champions, and Europa League champions get the UCL spot automatically, meaning the German champions’ spot now goes to the qualifier with the best record in the last 5 years.

And that’s Benfica who sit 19th in the club ranking in the last 5 years. Rangers are 26th.

Portugal is like Scotland, has two UCL spots, but only one auto group spot and it’s for the champions – second go through the qualifiers, but there will be a reshuffle if Bayer win.

So, you’re wondering, what happens here with Rangers?

Well, currently we’re not seeded in the qualifiers, unlike Benfica. But we’d likely shift up into the seeds because of their exit from the qualifiers into the league spot.

It is all a bit confusing, but the upshot is that Rangers would benefit from ‘weaker’ opponents over two rounds of qualifying if Bayer do indeed win the Europa League, by being seeds.

So, while there are no guarantees of anything, as it stands, we really, really want Bayer to secure the trophy. In truth, we want them to anyway, as football fans who admire what Alonso has done there.

And it would really help our club if all the cards settle in a good position or two…

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