Rangers FC should get the job done against any club in round two, but some teams can make that task difficult.
Rangers FC will learn their fate in round two of the Europa League on Monday, August 31st. Due to Rangers’ deep run in the tournament last season, their coefficient ranking went up, which in turn allowed Steven Gerrard’s men to skip the first round of qualifying action.
Rangers, along with Motherwell and Aberdeen, will be seeded due to having a higher coefficient ranking compared to other teams competing in the second round. That being said, there are 36 possible opponents for Rangers from across the continent.
Gers will be favorites in any of those clashes, however, some clubs could give Rangers a difficult time. It would be ideal if the draw blesses the Light Blues with a home game as some teams are located as far as Kazakhstan and Israel.
The opponent will officially be announced on Monday, but until then, here are three teams Rangers will hope to avoid.
Maccabi Haifa are considered to be an Israeli giant as they are a team with a winning tradition after claiming 12 league titles since 1983. The club has not won a league title since 2010, but they have experienced a resurgence in recent years after finishing in second place in 2018 and 2019.
At the international level, Maccabi Haifa are no strangers to the Europa League, and they have reached the group stage of the competition on two occasions – 2011, 2013. This is a team that knows what level of preparation and urgency is needed in order to reach the group stage. Regardless of where these teams would play, if drawn together, it would be a competitive game, but it would be a long away trip for Gers if the clash was set in Israel.
Levski Sofia are a powerhouse club in Bulgaria with 26 titles in their cabinet, and they have also earned 32 second-place finishes. The club has not won a league title since the 2008 campaign because of Ludogorets’ recent domination in Bulgaria.
Despite not winning any silverware over the last decade, Levski Sofia are still a well-respected side as they have regularly finished among the top three in Bulgaria since 2009.
The Bulgarian outfit did reach the Europa League group stage in 2010. Their overall record in the Europa League consists of 41 victories 25 draws, and 46 defeats.
Levski Sofia’s squad primarily consists of Bulgarian players, but their recruitment of players from Brazil, France, Ghana, and Iceland makes them an interesting side that Rangers should be wary of.
Last, but not least, is AEL Limassol from Cyprus. Having won six titles in the Cypriot top flight, with their last title being in 2011, AEL Limassol does not have the same domestic success rate as the clubs mentioned above, but they can cause problems for Rangers based on their experience in Europe.
AEL Limassol is one of those sides that have been unlucky with their draws in the Europa League and Champions League in recent years. They competed in the Europa League group stage back in 2012, but finished last in a group with Marseille, Fenerbahce, and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Other notable encounters at the European level for AEL Limassol include games against Tottenham, Zenit St. Petersburg, and Austria Wien. Since 2012, they have not made it past the third qualifying round, so they will be eager to break that trend.