Who will Rangers face in Europa League group stage?

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Rangers are back in the group stage of a UEFA tournament for the first time since 2010-11.

That was a Champions League campaign and after eight years of struggle, Steven Gerrard has led the Gers safely through to the Europa League.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the clubs that will visit Ibrox in Group G.

Who are they?

LaLiga club Villarreal are the top seeds in the group, while Austrian side Rapid Vienna and Russia’s Spartak Moscow came out of pots two and three respectively.

How did they qualify?

Villarreal secured their place in the group stage courtesy of their fifth-placed finish in LaLiga last season. Rapid Vienna came through two rounds of Europa League qualifiers, securing their spot with a 4-3 aggregate win against Steaua Bucharest, while Spartak dropped into the Europa League after losing to PAOK in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

Danger men

Santi Cazorla is back in action for Villarreal
Santi Cazorla is back in action for Villarreal (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is back at Villarreal, where he hopes to bounce back from his long injury problems, while Carlos Bacca – a two-time Europa League winner with Sevilla – leads the line. Rapid Vienna midfielder Christoph Knasmullner scored four goals in qualifying, including a hat-trick against Slovan Bratislava, while Spartak’s main threat comes from forwards Ze Luis and Luiz Adriano.

When are the fixtures?

September 20: Villarreal v Rangers (5.55pm)
October 4: Rangers v Rapid Vienna (8pm)
October 25: Rangers v Spartak Moscow (8pm)
November 8: Spartak Moscow v Rangers (5.55pm)
November 29: Rangers v Villarreal (8pm)
December 13: Rapid Vienna v Rangers (5.55pm)

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