Celtic draw Rosenborg, Rangers to meet Villarreal in Europa League

Celtic beat Norwegian title winners Rosenborg in the Champions League qualifiers
Celtic beat Norwegian title winners Rosenborg in the Champions League qualifiers

Celtic and Rangers will face familiar foes in the Europa League group stages, with Rosenborg and Villarreal returning to Parkhead and Ibrox.

Brendan Rodgers' side will play the Norwegians - who they knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers - as well as Austrian title winners RB Salzburg, and German club RB Leipzig.

Rangers face a rematch with Spanish side Villarreal - who they played in the 2005-06 Champions League - as well as Austria's Rapid Vienna and Spartak Moscow of Russia.

The first group fixtures will take place on Thursday, 20 September.

Games will kick off at either 17:55 or 20:00 BST/GMT on Thursday evenings, which means that subsequent Premiership games will be moved to Sundays.

Who are Celtic's opponents?

  • RB Salzburg: The Austrian champions entered the Europa League after losing their Champions League play-off to Red Star Belgrade
  • RB Leipzig: Salzburg's sister club, they were in the Champions League group stage last season. They finished sixth in the Bundesliga, then beat Hacken, Universitatea Craiova and Zorya Luhansk to reach this stage
  • Rosenborg: The Norwegian champions lost a Champions League qualifier against Celtic, then beat Cork and Shkendija to earn their place
Celtic fixtures

Who are Rangers' opponents?

  • Villarreal: Finished fifth in the Spanish top flight to earn automatic group stage qualification
  • Rapid Vienna: The third-best team in Austria last term, they beat Slovan Bratislava and Steaua Bucharest to qualify
  • Spartak Moscow: And the third best side in Russian enter the competition at this stage
Rangers fixtures

What do the managers say?

Celtic's Brendan Rodgers: "Interesting. They are great games and it's a tough group but we will look forward to it. It's a competition we want to go as far as we can, but we will respect the three teams that are in there."

Rangers' Steven Gerrard: "I am very excited by the draw. I think it is brilliant for the players, I think it is a reward for all the hard work, effort and the quality they have shown during the qualifying campaign. The three other teams are big names for us and they are great challenges."

Rangers v Villarreal
Villarreal denied Rangers a place in the 2005-06 Champions League quarter-finals on away goals

How much do they stand to make?

Both Scottish clubs will claim an immediate £2.6m for reaching the group stages, from a total Europa League prize pot of £455m.

Each group win is rewarded with £320,000, with a further £105,000 on offer for each draw. Add in gate receipts, television money, and a share of the coefficent ranking pot will add to their bounty.

With the top two qualifying for the last 32, group winners will also receive a qualification bonus of £897,000 and the runners-up £448,000.

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