Celtic & Rangers Learn Europa League Group Stage Fates

Celtic and Rangers have learned who they will be facing in this year’s Europa League group stages following the draw in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The Celts have been drawn in group E and will face Lazio, Rennes and Cluj whilst the Gers have been placed in group G and will face Porto, Young Boys and Feyenoord.

Who are Celtic’s opponents?

Lazio

The Rome based side are one-time finalists in the competition. The Biancocelesti reached the final in the 1997/98 season but lost 3-0 to fellow Italian side Inter at PSG’s Parc des Princes.

Ciro Immobile is arguably one of the best strikers in the competition and Celtic will need to be particularly wary of him. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who was named the best midfielder in Serie A last season, is another top player for Lazio, who will prove difficult opponents for Neil Lennon’s side.

Rennes

The Ligue 1 club will be no strangers to Celtic as the sides met back in the 2011/12 edition of the competition.

The two clubs were in group I together that time. The sides drew in their first encounter before Celtic ran out 3-1 winners in the second meeting.

Rennes best finish in the Europa League is the round of 16, which they achieved in last season’s competition.

Les Rouges et Noir have several exciting young players on their books including 16-year-old midfielder Eduardo Camavinga. Former Milan striker M’Baye Niang and former Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier are also part of manager Julian Stephan’s side.

Cluj

Cluj knocked Celtic out of the Champions League qualifying process a few weeks back and the two sides will meet once more far sooner than they perhaps anticipated they would.

The Romanian club ran out 5-4 winners on aggregate when the sides met and the furthest they have reached in the Europa League is the round of 32.

Celtic and their fans will obviously know a lot about Cluj and their players due to their recent meeting and know just how dangerous the likes of Bilel Omrani and George Tucudean can be.

Who are Rangers’ opponents?

Porto

The Portuguese giants are arguably one of the best sides in the competition and are two-time winners, with their most recent success coming back in 2011.

They have been in the Champions League for the past three seasons and in their last appearance in the Europa League they achieved a round of 32 finish.

Porto have several top players within their ranks from Alex Telles and Pepe at the back, Danilo Pererira in the middle and the likes of Vincent Aboubakaer and Moussa Marega up-top.

Rangers and Porto have met on four occassions previously. They first met back in the 1983/84 Cup Winners Cup and Porto won the tie on away goals.

Their most recent meeting came in the Champions League group stages in the 2005/06 edition of the tournament. Rangers won 3-2 at Ibrox and secured a 1-1 draw away in Portugal.

Young Boys

Young Boys were knocked out of the Champions League play-off round this season and come into the Europa League as the reigning Swiss champions.

The Bern based club made the round of 32 in the 2010/11 edition of the Europa League before being knocked out by Russian powerhouses Zenit St. Petersburg.

They have some notable names in their squad including former Ajax and Benfica attacker Miralem Sulejmani, former Bayern Munich midfielder Gianluca Gaudino and former PSG striker Guillaume Hoarau.

The two clubs met in the Cup Winners Cup qualifiers back in 1977-78 and Rangers ran out 3-2 victors on aggregate.

Feyenoord

The Dutch giants are two-time winners of the competition and actually beat Rangers on their way to their last victory back in 2001/02.

The clubs met in the fourth round when the Europa League was the UEFA Cup and Feyenoord were 4-3 victors.

Managed by Jaap Stam, De club aan de Maas, have several noteworthy players who could certainly cause Steven Gerrard’s side some problems.

Former Swansea pair Luciano Narsingh and Leroy Fer both joined the club over the Summer and the likes of Sam Larsson and Steven Berghuis are both dangerous.

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