The teams Barcelona could face in Europa League playoff including Leicester and Rangers

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Barcelona have failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in 17 years, and due to a tweak ahead of this season, they now must face a Europa League play-pff as opposed to just automatically dropping down. There are many sides they could face in this qualifier, including Rangers.

Barcelona couldn’t pull off the upset that they so craved on Wednesday as they were thumped 3-0 by Bayern Munich, and as a result they failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2003/04 season.

The Spanish side finished third in their group, and usually that would see sides automatically drop into the knockout stages of the Europa League, but that’s changed this season and Barcelona now face a play-off game just to continue in the second-tier of European football.

The new format means that the eight third-placed Champions League sides will be drawn against a runner-up from each Europa League group, with only the winning team joining the Europa League group winners in the round of 16.

Therefore, against the odds we could be witnessing the likes of Rangers or Leicester facing off against Barcelona in a European play-off come February.

There are many other sides Barcelona could face though, and here Express Sport takes a look at which opponents they may be drawn against for their Europa League play-off.

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Group A – Rangers

Rangers could actually face Barcelona in a Europa League play-off in what would make for fascinating viewing, and it would mark the most unlikely of reunions for new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The Scottish Champions are out of reach with Lyon who could finish the group with a perfect record, but Barcelona could be visiting Ibrox in what would make for a historic night in Glasgow.

Group B – PSV Eindhoven / Real Sociedad

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With second place up for grabs, Barcelona could either face Dutch giants PSV or meet La Liga rivals Real Sociedad, and their group will be determined on Thursday as the two face one another.

Sociedad have to win away to PSV, as the Dutch side have a two point advantage over the Spanish outfit, meaning that they will progress as long as they manage to avoid defeat at home.

Group C – Leicester / Spartak / Napoli / Legia Warsaw

Group C is the biggest unknown quantity as all four teams are separated by just two points, meaning that qualification can be achieved by all four sides in the group.

It is Leicester and Napoli that meet as Brendan Rodgers’ side face the tough test of travelling to Italy, and they face a must win game due to uncertainties over the other group game.

Legia Warsaw are the underdogs in the group and have only managed four goals in five group games, but they still sit on six points meaning that they are within as much of a chance as anyone.

To make matters worse for Leicester, they will be without seven players for their trip to Italy as Covid begins to infiltrate the Premier League once more

Group D – Eintracht Frankfurt / Olympiakos

It’s confirmed that both Frankfurt and Olympiakos will make up the top two in their group, but top spot is still up for grabs, although the German side have the edge.

Frankfurt have a two-point cushion on their Greek competition, but with Olympiacos expected to beat Antwerp, the Bundesliga side must win to guarantee top spot away to Fenerbahce, which is easier said than done.

Group E – Galatasaray / Lazio

Lazio host Galatasaray in what is expected to be one of the games of the round at the Stadio Olympico in Rome, as a win for the Italians will see them qualify as group winners over the Turkish side.

If Galatasaray avoid defeat then the honour is all theirs, but it’s expected to be a feisty affair in Rome with everything on the line in the final battle of Group E.

Group F – Red Star / Braga / Midtjylland

All three sides sit within a point of one another in Group F meaning that the top three can finish in any order, but with Midtjylland expected to stroll past Ludogorets, it leaves Braga and Red Star scrapping for qualification.

If Midtjylland do beat Ludogorets, a win is a must for both Braga and Red Star, although the Serbian side can settle for second with a draw, but they will be underdogs as they travel to Portugal to face a Braga side who subbed their stars off early during a 2-0 domestic win over Estoril on Sunday.

Group G – Real Betis

Unlike some of the other groups, this one is done and dusted as Bayer Leverkusen have qualified as group winners, with Real Betis settling for second.

Betis are the other potential Spanish side that Barcelona could face during the Europa League play-offs, but Betis will be full of confidence after already beating the Catalan side at the Nou Camp this season.

Group H – Dinamo Zagreb / Genk

West Ham have comfortably topped group H, leaving Genk and Dinamo Zagreb to battle it out for second, although the Croatian side must get a result against the Hammers away from home to maximise their chances.

Genk may be two points behind Zagreb, but they host Rapid Vienna knowing that a win will be enough if West Ham beat Zagreb, but David Moyes is likely to rest a whole host of stars making the game less routine than you’d usually expect.

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