Rangers Champions League qualifying tie venue change as kick-off details confirmed for Union Saint-Gilloise clash

Fans had initially feared they would be faced with a battle to purchase tickets for the clash in Belgium.

Rangers have been informed their Champions League first-leg qualifier against Royale Union Saint-Gilloise has been moved away from their Stade Joseph Marien home venue.

Details for the third round match - the penultimate stage before the competition’s group stages - have been confirmed as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side prepare to kick-start their latest European journey next month.

Their Belgian opponents have elected to more their first leg away from their 9,400 capacity stadium because it doesn’t meet the strict UEFA ground criteria.

The Light Blues will now face last season’s Jupiler Pro League runners-up at the home of OH Leuven, 18 miles outside of the capital city Brussels.

The King Power Den Dreef Stadium meets the governing body’s requirements and will play host to the match on Tuesday, August 2 with kick-off at 7.45pm.

The return leg falls a week later at Ibrox, with all second-leg ties scheduled for August 9. The winners will progress to the play-off round before the lucrative group stages begin in September.

Rangers will be strong favourites to advance against the surprise Belgian outfit, who only returned to the top-flight in 2021 following a 48-year absence.

The club won most of their titles in 1935 and rounded off their pre-season programme with an impressive 4-0 victory over Dutch side Feyenoord last weekend.

Union Saint-Gilloise finished behind champions Club Brugge last term, despite topping the table after the regular 34-game season before points were halved ahead of six-match play-offs.

Manager Karel Geraerts, who recently took on the role after serving as assistant to Felice Mazzu last season, insists the pressure is all on Rangers to maintain their stellar European form.

Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, he admitted: “It’s a very big game for us, Rangers are a club with a lot of history, and last season were in the Europa League final. They are a team with a lot of quality.

“It’s clear that Rangers are the favourites. We have all the respect for them, but we will try to play our game, and try to win, that’s clear.

“We are going to analyse our opponent in depth. It’s a wonderful experience for the whole club, for the players and for me as a coach.

“It’s magnificent, the continuation of our last two seasons and we can show ourselves on another stage. Everyone dreams of the Champions League. We are going to play the best we can, and we’ll see where we get to.”