UEFA announcement guarantees special nights for one of two Rangers stars next month
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

UEFA announcement guarantees special nights for one of two Rangers stars next month

The news that Rangers will face either Malmo or HJK Helsinki in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round guarantees a pair of special nights for one of two Rangers stars next month.

The tie will take place over 3/4 and 10 August, with the Gers playing the first leg away from home.

Steven Gerrard is hoping to successfully guide his team to the Champions League group stages. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With the extra prize money on offer in the Champions League compared to the Europa League, the tie is extremely important.


However, depending on the opposition, it’ll take on even greater significance for either Filip Helander or Alfredo Morelos.

That’s as Helander began his professional career at Malmo and HJK gave Morelos his big break in Europe.

Big Fil spent four years in the Malmo Academy before breaking into the first team in 2011. He went on to make 94 senior appearances for the Swedish giants – the most he’s made for any club so far in his career – before joining Hellas Verona in 2015.

Now Rangers star Filip Helander in UEFA Champions League action for Malmo against Juventus in 2014 – he’ll be hoping for special nights against his old club next month. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, El Bufalo joined HJK in 2016 initially on loan from Independiente Medellin in his native Colombia and after impressing in the Finnish capital, they took up their option to make the transfer permanent.

It wouldn’t be long before he was on the move again, though, with the Gers paying £1m to snap him up on the recommendation of Jonatan Johansson.

Malmo are favourites, as they are currently top of the Allsvenskan and ranked 88th in the UEFA club coefficient, 123 places above HJK (211th).

However, HJK impressed with a 7-1 aggregate triumph over Buducnost Podgorica in the first qualifying round and will be determined to cause an upset.

Before their domestic or European campaigns kick off, Rangers have a pre-season schedule to complete, but fans were left gutted by an official announcement from the club on Monday.

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