The draw for the final 16 of the Europa League was set on Friday, sending Sergiño Dest and Barcelona to Turkey, while giving some logistic uncertainty to Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig.
With the completion of the Knockout round play-off on Thursday night, the eight winners were paired with the eight winners of the main group stage, who received an automatic bye to the upcoming round.
Headlining the matchups in the final 16, which will take place on March 10 and 17, is the clash between FC Barcelona and traditional Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray.
The possibility of a Yanks vs. Yank clash was denied after DeAndre Yedlin left the Turkish club for MLS in the recent winter transfer window. Nevertheless, Sergiño Dest should feature for the Blaugrana, after performing well in his recent run of starts in La Liga and the Europa League.
Barcelona beat Napoli 5-3 on aggregate in the previous round, a matchup already fitting of a final, and are looking to lift their first-ever Europa League trophy after being regular fixtures in the Champions League knockout stage for the last two decades.
Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig, who overcame Spaniards Real Sociedad with a strong second-leg performance, drew Spartak Moscow, the only Russian team left in European competition this season.
Due to UEFA’s decision that all club or international games involving Russian teams must be played at a neutral site due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the location of the return leg on March 17 is yet to be determined.
Elsewhere in the round, Tim Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt, who won Group D, have a tough matchup with surprise La Liga third-place team Real Betis. The Spaniards advance to the final 16 by beating Zenit 3-2 on aggregate in the previous round.
Finally, James Sands and Rangers will look to continue their run against Red Star Belgrade, after comprehensively beating Germans Borussia Dortmund by a 6-4 aggregate score in the previous round. Sands appeared as a substitute in the first leg, and will certainly be a bench option for Rangers as they try to progress towards the later rounds.
Europa League Round of 16 Draw
Rangers (James Sands) – Red Star Belgrade
Barcelona (Sergiño Dest) – Galatasaray
RB Leipzig (Tyler Adams) – Spartak Moscow
Real Betis – Eintracht Frankfurt (Tim Chandler)