Heartbreak in Seville in the Europa League not only robbed Rangers of a first European crown in 50 years, but it similarly deprived them of automatic qualification to the Champions League group stages next season.

Instead, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men will have to navigate two qualifying rounds this summer if they are to seal a return to Europe’s premier competition.

Where do Rangers enter the competition?

Similar to last season, Rangers will enter the competition at the Third Qualifying Round in the League Path section of the draw.

Should they navigate that, van Bronckhorst’s side will go into a winner-takes-all Play-Off Round.

When are the various draws in the Champions League qualifying rounds?

The draw for the Third Qualifying Round will take place on 18 July, with the draw for the Play-Off Round to be held on August 1.

Rangers will learn of their potential Play-Off Round opponents before they have even kicked a ball in the competition, with the Third Qualifying Round first leg matches set to take place on August 2-3.

Who could Rangers face in the Third Qualifying Round?

Rangers will be drawn into the League Path as Scottish Premiership runners up, but, due to their exploits in the Europa League in recent years, they will have the benefit of being seeded when the draw is made.

That means they will avoid Portuguese giants Benfica in both rounds, while it also rules out Dynamo Kiev as a potential opponent in the Third Qualifying Round.

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Monaco pose the biggest threat to the Ibrox side, with the Ligue 1 outfit boasting the highest coefficient among the unseeded teams in the draw.

The Monegasque side narrowly missed out on automatic Champions League group stage qualification on the final day in Ligue 1 after a 2-2 draw with Lens.

Manager Philippe Clement, appointed after securing back-to-back Belgian Pro League titles with Club Brugge, has overseen a drastic upturn in form since his arrival in January, with the final day draw at Lens bringing an end to a nine-game winning run since mid-March.

Monaco boast the dangerous Wissam Ben Yedder in attack, although they could be set to lose the services of star midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni. The 22-year-old is attracting serious interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool and, should Rangers meet the Ligue 1 outfit in August, they will hope Clement’s side are still adjusting to the loss of the Frenchman.

READ MORE: Giovanni van Bronckhorst has proven he's Rangers class, now it's time to back him - Garry Carmody

Belgian Pro League runners up Union Saint-Gilloise could be an interesting tie for the Ibrox club as they prepare to make their debut in the Champions League.

They remarkably led the Belgian Pro League ahead of Club Brugge in the regular season, but they collapsed in the Championship Play-Offs and missed out on automatic passage through to the group stages.

Without automatic qualification, USG will be unable to fend off big bids for their star players, with the club already set to lose Pro League top goalscorer Denis Undav.

The German was snapped up by Brighton on the final day of the January transfer window and was immediately loaned back to the Belgian outfit for the remainder of the season, with Undav set to join up with Graham Potter’s side this summer.

Sturm Graz, meanwhile, boast historical connotations for Rangers and the Austrian side are another potential opponent in the Third Qualifying Round.

Managed by Christian Ilzer, the 44-year-old is aiming to restore his side to the lofty heights of the late 1990s as a European force.

Their club ELO – which measures the strength of a club based on the results against opponents and their strength – shows how, slowly but surely, the Austrian outfit are trending upwards after a significant period in the European wilderness.

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Only runaway league champions RB Salzburg have scored more than Ilzer’s 62-goal squad, whose players also make up half of the six most prolific goalscorers in the Austrian Bundesliga this season.

Jakob Jantscher, Manprit Sarkaria and Kelvin Yeboah have combined for 38 goals, with the latter having departed for Genoa in January after a highly prolific first half of the campaign in Austria.

Rangers, meanwhile, could also face a daunting trip to Fenerbahce in the Third Qualifying Round, while Celtic-conquerers Midtjylland and AEK Larnaca are also possible opponents.

Midtjylland are set to face either Fenerbahce or AEK Lanarca in the Second Qualifying Round, with the winners set to join Monaco, Sturm Graz and Union Saint-Gilloise in the unseeded section of the Third Qualifying Round draw.

Who could Rangers face in the Play-Off Round?

Should Rangers successfully navigate the Third Qualifying Round, they are guaranteed to be seeded in the Play-Off Round.

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The Ibrox side could then face Dutch giants PSV, who boast the lowest coefficient from the seeded teams in the Third Qualifying Round.

That could present a particularly tricky challenge for van Bronckhorst’s side, with PSV having finished just two points behind eventual champions Ajax in the Eredivisie.

However, they are likely to be going through a transitional period this summer after the departure of manager Roger Schmidt to Benfica.

Former Man Utd and Real Madrid forward Ruud van Nistelrooy has been appointed as his successor, with the Dutchman taking his first steps into senior management.

PSV will also have to cope with the departure of veteran midfielder Eran Zahavi ahead of next season, while 23-year-old Cody Gakpo, who finished as the team’s top scorer in 2021/22, is attracting admiring glances from the likes of Liverpool.

READ MORE: Rangers' durability wins the Scottish Cup as Giovanni van Bronckhorst's tinkering turns the tide

Dynamo Kiev could also lie in wait for Rangers, with the Ukrainian side having been forced to play friendlies in recent weeks following the suspension of the Ukranian Premier League.

It remains to be seen whether Uefa will retain the home/away element involving Ukrainian sides this summer, but the Gers will face a stiff test nonetheless.

Dynamo hope to hold onto the impressive Viktor Tsygankov, scorer of 11 goals from midfield last season, despite the Israel international reportedly exploring his options elsewhere.

The club could face a player exodus amid the ongoing situation in the country, with Vitaliy Mykolenko having departed to Everton back in January. Boss Mircea Lucescu has already admitted he may need to look inwards towards the academy for replacements.

What happens if Rangers lose in Champions League qualifying?

The Gers are guaranteed Europa League group stage football at a minimum next season.

Regardless of which stage they exit the qualifying rounds at, van Bronckhorst’s men will drop into the tournament that saw them reach the final last week.

How likely is it that Rangers reach the Champions League group stages?

van Bronckhorst’s men are projected to reach the group stages based on their coefficient ranking.

However, last season’s shock exit to Malmo underlines the precarity of knockout football, with Rangers visibly undercooked against a side who were in the midst of their domestic season.

Midjtylland, therefore, could pose a similar problem for the Gers, but the Danish side only just managed to scrap past a makeshift Celtic side in Champions League qualifying last summer.

Rangers may look to retain their big hitters through the qualifying rounds before offloading a player or two towards the end of the summer transfer window, but that comes with inherent risk given it will be a month into a crucial domestic campaign.

van Bronckhorst has underlined himself as a shrewd European knockout coach with his exploits in the Europa League last season.

Should he be able to replicate those performances, it's difficult not to envisage Rangers as a Champions League outfit next season.