What is required Rangers and Aberdeen to be seeded in the Europa League play-off round – if they make it
Aberdeen and Rangers discovered their opponents for the Europa League third qualifying round if they secure passage past their second round opponents.
Both sides are in second round action this week. Aberdeen travel to Georgia to face Chikhura Sachkhere in the first leg, while Rangers welcome former foes Progres Niedercorn to Ibrox.
If the duo see off their opponents, as is expected, they will encounter stiffer opposition in the third round.
Aberdeen will once again face Rijeka, having defeated the Croatians in 2015.
Rangers have an interesting tie in Danish side Midtjylland. Famed for their use of analytics, they finished runners up in the Superliga last season.
With the the play-off round being drawn so early it means a quirk in the seedings. If Aberdeen and/or Rangers were to reach the third round and then beat their opponents they would take their coefficient points.
Which means Aberdeen would take Rijeka’s 13.500 with Rangers taking control of Midtjylland’s 14.000.
In the main path, there will be 13 ties in the play-off round. However, there are already seven teams above Midtjylland (eight above Rijeka) already assured of being first seeds due to the coefficient.
If the second round goes as seeding predicts there will be 16 and 18 teams above Midtjylland and Rijeka respectively as per their coefficient, meaning the Scottish duo would definitely be unseeded, no matter what.
In essence, what happens in the second round has a bearing on the play-off round. Therefore, Aberdeen and Rangers will be hoping for a number of shocks.
Steven Gerrard’s men require four of the following eight teams in bold to not progress from their second round tie:
– KAA GENT v Viitorul Constanta
– LEGIA WARSAW v KuPS
– EINTRACHT FRANKFURT v Flora
– FCSB v Alashkert
– ESPANYOL v Stjarnan
– MALMO v Domžale
– PARTIZAN BELGRADE v Connah’s Quay Nomads
– WOLVES v Crusaders
– TORINO v Debrecen
Aberdeen will require six of the above and/or MOLDE (v Cukaricki) to lose their tie over two-legs.
Derek McInnes and Steven Gerrard will solely be focusing on getting their team past their second round opponents before turning their attention to Rijeka and Midtjylland, let alone fretting about seedings.
However, it is something extra for fans to keep an eye on.