Who could Rangers draw in the Europa League quarter finals?

Barcelona, Atalanta and Lyon are among the sides lying in wait.

Who could Rangers draw in the Europa League quarter finals? SNS Group

Rangers’ 4-2 aggregate win over Red Star Belgrade saw the Scottish champions march into the last eight of the Europa League on Thursday night.

The Ibrox side have reached the quarter finals of European competition for the first time since they made a run all the way to the UEFA Cup final back in 2008 and they have guaranteed two huge games as they bid to continue their continental adventure.

Friday’s draw in Nyon will not only pair the remaining sides for the last eight, but also lay out the path and potential opponents for the semi-final stage.

Rangers have already come through a play-off against Alashkert, a group stage that pitted them against Lyon, Sparta Prague and Brondby, then knock-out ties against Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade.

So who lies in wait? Nobody that the Ibrox side would consider an easy opponent but a mix of teams that include some big names and thrilling contests.

The first side to be confirmed as quarter-finalists was RB Leipzig, with the German side given a bye in the last 16 after Spartak Moscow were removed from the competition after the invasion of Ukraine.

Sitting fourth in the Bundesliga, die Roten Bullen made the Champions League semis two years ago, and the last 16 of the elite competition last year.

In terms of glamour, Barcelona would be the pick of the bunch. The Catalan giants have had a troubled time but now under the management of club legend Xavi, they haven’t been beaten in 11 games and saw off Napoli and Galatasaray to reach this stage.

Drawing Barca would create a tie to remember and a return to a former club for Giovanni van Bronckhorst but there’s no doubt who would be favourites to progress.

Many Rangers fans might look at Braga as one of the preferable draws, with the Ibrox side having beaten the Portuguese team home and away in the competition two years ago. Braga finished behind Red Star in the group stages this time around and beat Sheriff Tiraspol in the play-off round before seeing off Monaco with a 3-1 aggregate win.

Atalanta are one of the potential opponents who could bring real thrills to the last eight tie. The Serie A side have a reputation for being attack-minded and were joint top scorers in their Champions League group, averaging two goals a game, but conceded more.

On dropping to the Europa League they thumped Olympiacos 5-1 over two legs, then saw off Bayer Leverkusen with a 4-2 win.

Lyon need no introduction after winning Rangers group. The French side were comfortable 2-0 winners at Ibrox in the opening group game and went on to win every game until they were guaranteed to top the section. Encouragement for Rangers would come from the fact that they drew 1-1 in France in the dead rubber final game.

The Ligue 1 side beat Porto 2-1 on aggregate to reach the quarters.

Eintracht Frankfurt needed extra time to see off Real Betis but the German side made easier work of their group, going unbeaten against Olympiacos, Fenerbache and Antwerp.

Eintracht aren’t having a vintage season in the Bundesliga, currently sitting ninth and with a job on their hands to reach the European places. They may put all their eggs in the Europa League basket with the Champions League place on offer for the winner, but there are bigger names in the draw.

And there’s the very real possibility of a ‘Battle of Britain’ after David Moyes’ West Ham overcame serial Europa league winners Sevilla after extra time to book their place in the draw.

The Scottish manager has made the Hammers one of the most formidable sides in the English Premier League outside the big names and a trip to London would be easy in terms of travel but a step up in terms of difficulty for Rangers.

The draw takes place in Nyon on Friday at 12.15pm.

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