Xavi acknowledged his "respect" for Robert Lewandowski but offered little more on the Bayern Munich striker ahead of a key European game for Barcelona.

Lewandowski has scored 47 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season and won The Best FIFA Men's Player award in January.

Bayern were surprisingly eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday, despite Lewandowski finding the net against Villarreal, who won 2-1 on aggregate.

Oliver Kahn, the Bayern chief executive, said ahead of that second leg the club "definitely" would not sell Lewandowski, who has a year remaining on his contract.

But the former Borussia Dortmund man has been linked with a move to Camp Nou at the end of the season.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Barca's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt, Xavi said: "It is not the moment to talk about Lewandowski.

"I respect him a lot as a player, but we focus on tomorrow's match and not potential signings. I will not say anything else about it."

The Blaugrana drew 1-1 in Germany in last week's first leg, where Xavi was unhappy with the length of the grass at the Waldstadion, but he is confident at Camp Nou his players will be able to utilise their possession-based football.

"It's true the pitch wasn't 100 per cent. It is important tomorrow the pitch is good. It should help us improve retention of the ball," Xavi said.

Barca have not lost in 15 games in all competitions, winning 11 of those, and the arrival of Xavi in November has seen the team restore some pride after a dreadful start to the campaign that included elimination from the Champions League group stages for the first time in over two decades.

Despite this form, Xavi declared his coaching job as the "most difficult" in the world, believing the pressure to win as well as play good football makes the Barca role the toughest in football.

"We have an obligation to win and play well," he said. "Imagine what it's like to be at Barca. All week there has been debate about the weekend when we won in the 90th minute [against Levante]. That's what it's like being in Barca. We need to be excellent in everything we do.

"That's why it's the most difficult club in the world. There is nothing to compare it to. In no other country is there a more difficult job.

"We have to win while playing well and that's difficult. Very difficult. It's the most complicated club in the world, I am sure of it."

Xavi called on Barcelona fans to make Camp Nou "a pressure cooker" after they drew 1-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Ansgar Knauff gave Eintracht the lead with a fine finish early in the second half at a raucous Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday, but Ferran Torres equalised after a brilliant exchange with Frenkie de Jong. 

The Bundesliga side saw Tuta sent off with just over 10 minutes remaining following a second bookable offence, but Barca were unable to pinch a winner in the closing stages. 

However, by avoiding defeat their unbeaten run stretched to 14 games – their best streak since January-May 2019 under Ernesto Valverde. 

Barca had almost two-thirds of the possession but mustered fewer than half the attempts on goal of Eintracht, who were a persistent threat on the counter-attack. 

Xavi felt his team were hindered by the state of the pitch and hopes a fiery atmosphere in Catalonia in next Thursday's second leg can help the Blaugrana advance to the semi-finals. 

"They were a very physical opponent. They got forward like hell in transitions. We didn't have the ball circulation and the state of the pitch didn't help us," Xavi told Movistar. 

"We leave quite satisfied and Camp Nou will have to be a pressure cooker, like it was in their stadium. 

"Normally the team that's in control creates more, but we were not able to stop their devilish counter-attacks. We had already been warned – they eliminated a team like [Real] Betis [in the last 16]." 

Gerard Pique hobbled off in the first half with an apparent groin injury but Xavi was unable to provide a meaningful update on the centre-back. 

Sergio Busquets, who would have given a penalty away for a tackle on Rafael Borre had it not been for VAR, acknowledged Barca will need to be better in the second leg. 

"The goal gives us a lot of life because we had come to win but it was very difficult," said Busquets. 

"There are things to improve. We will do better in the second leg with our fans and a pitch that will surely be better and faster. 

"Barca are always a candidate to win everything. We had a period that wasn't the best but we're doing things well. 

"We respect all the teams. Anything can happen and we will try to win." 

Barca have progressed in three of the five knockout rounds in Europe's secondary competition after drawing the first leg away from home. They were eliminated in the last such instance by Bayern Munich in the 1995-96 season. 

Tanguy Ndombele was on target as Lyon held 10-man West Ham United to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Ndombele – on loan from Tottenham – opened his account for the Ligue 1 side; equalising midway through the second half at the London Stadium on Thursday.

Jarrod Bowen had broken the deadlock early in the second half as David Moyes' side capitalised on sloppy defending by the visitors.

The Hammers played the entire second period with 10 men after Aaron Cresswell was controversially shown a straight red card just before the break.

Unbeaten in six European matches against English opposition, including their elimination of Manchester City in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals, Lyon had the first sight on goal after 10 minutes.

The in-form Moussa Dembele lost Declan Rice at the near post, but was unable to direct Lucas Paqueta's inviting cross towards the target.

Said Benrahma latched onto Craig Dawson's long ball over the top of the defence at the other end before he was denied by Antony Lopes from a tight angle.

The Hammers suffered a big blow when they were reduced to 10 men just before half-time; Cresswell shown a straight red card after dragging back Dembele when he was deemed to be the last defender.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts took the lead seven minutes after the restart. Pablo Fornals won possession high up the field and after a couple of fortunate ricochets, Bowen's goal=bound effort deflected up and over Lopes via Jerome Boateng.

Lyon responded 14 minutes later as Ndombele tucked away after the Hammers failed to deal with Tete’s initial cross – leaving the tie finely poised heading into the second leg at the Groupama Stadium next week.

Braga will take a slender 1-0 lead into next week's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Rangers thanks to Abel Ruiz's strike in Thursday's tie.

The hosts had already hit the post through Ricardo Horta and had an Andre Horta strike ruled out when Abel Ruiz fired them ahead shortly before half-time.

Rangers eliminated Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade to make it this far but could not register a shot on target at Estadio Municipal de Braga.

The sides meet again at Ibrox in a week's time, with the winners of this tie to face either RB Leipzig or Atalanta in the semi-finals.

After a slow start to the contest, Braga came to life in the 25th minute when captain Ricardo Horta's side-footed shot from 12 yards came back off the post.

Braga thought they had taken the lead two minutes later when Andre Horta fired in a deflected shot, only for the goal to be chalked off for Fabinho's rash challenge on Ryan Jack.

But Abel Ruiz's powerful shot past Allan McGregor, making his 100th European appearance for Rangers, was allowed to stand five minutes before half-time.

The introduction of Joe Aribo and Kemar Roofe shortly after the hour mark injected some urgency into the Gers' play.

Braga's goal did not come under any serious threat, though, with Connor Goldson's wayward header the closest Rangers went to scoring.

Ferran Torres rescued a 1-1 draw for Barcelona in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, who finished with 10 men.

After a goalless first half at Deutsche Bank Park on Thursday, Ansgar Knauff sent the home fans into raptures with a wonderful finish from 20 yards out. 

Xavi sent Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele on in response and the pair started a lovely move that ended with Torres slotting an equaliser into the bottom-left corner. 

And although Tuta was shown a second yellow card with just over 10 minutes remaining, Barca were unable to complete a dramatic late turnaround to snatch the victory.

Kevin Trapp's fingertip save kept Torres at bay in the third minute and Djibril Sow failed to hit the target from a great opening at the other end. 

Barca dominated possession but Trapp denied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and they lost Gerard Pique to an apparent groin injury – Clement Lenglet replacing him in the 23rd minute. 

Eintracht were awarded a penalty shortly before half-time but upon reviewing video footage, referee Srdjan Jovanovic deemed Sergio Busquets had won the ball in his challenge on Rafael Borre. 

The hosts took the lead just three minutes after the restart, though, as Knauff curled a great strike into the top-right corner from the edge of the box following a corner. 

Jesper Lindstrom missed a brilliant chance to double Eintracht's lead 90 seconds later and it proved costly when De Jong – who had only been on the pitch for four minutes – teed up Torres to finish off a slick move. 

Tuta was shown a yellow card for a lunge on Pedri in the 78th minute but Barca were unable to make their numerical advantage count in the closing stages. 

What does it mean? Eintracht still in with a shout 

After overcoming Inter en route to the semi-finals in 2018-19, knocking out another of Europe's most prestigious clubs remains a distinct possibility for Eintracht this season. 

Although they were unable to become the first German team other than Bayern Munich to beat Barca in a European game since Bayer Leverkusen in September 2001 – the Blaugrana are now undefeated in 22 such matches – they will still fancy their chances at Camp Nou. 

Barca struggle to weather Lindstrom 

He may have missed a great chance early in the second half, but Lindstrom was a real thorn in the side of Barca with his electric pace. He supplied four key passes – more than any other player on the pitch – before being replaced in the 73rd minute. 

Aubameyang comes up short 

He has made a strong start to life at Barca but Aubameyang was far from his best in Germany. He only had one attempt on goal across the 90 minutes and completed fewer than half of his passes. 

What's next? 

Barca travel to Levante in LaLiga on Sunday before hosting the second leg next week, while Eintracht are in Bundesliga action at home to Freiburg. 

RB Leipzig and Atalanta shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday to set up a winner-takes-all decider in Bergamo.

Domenico Tedesco's Bundesliga side made it 10 games unbeaten across all competitions with a 4-1 thumping of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday but found themselves behind at the Red Bull Arena when Luis Muriel struck after 17 minutes.

Gian Piero Gasperini's visitors thought they had escaped lightly when Andre Silva saw his penalty saved by Juan Musso after the break, but Davide Zappacosta miscued into his own goal to restore parity.

Neither team could find a late winner, with Teun Koopmeiners and Dominik Szoboszlai denied by the woodwork, which leaves it all to play for in the return leg next Thursday.

Christopher Nkunku skewed a half-chance wide from Benjamin Henrichs' mishit strike in an otherwise uneventful opening to the contest.

But Muriel sparked the tie into life when he ghosted inside from the left flank before expertly whipping into the top-right corner for his fourth goal in European competition this season, his best tally.

Muriel almost repeated the trick shortly after but his left-footed drive narrowly evaded the far corner, before the woodwork denied Silva and Mario Pasalic at either end.

Peter Gulacsi pushed away a teasing Muriel curler from range after the interval, before Merih Demiral needlessly felled Nkunku inside the area.

Musso denied Silva's spot-kick before an excellent reflex save thwarted Willi Orban on the rebound, but Leipzig equalised moments later when Zappacosta inadvertently turned Angelino's cross into his own net.

Gulacsi then tipped a low Koopmeiners effort onto the post and Szoboszlai headed onto the crossbar, while Lukas Klostermann saw a late strike denied on the line following a goalmouth scramble from Emil Forsberg's corner as neither side could be separated.

Xavi has reiterated his admiration for Ousmane Dembele's professionalism as the Barcelona boss confirmed negotiations over a new contract for the winger were under way.

Dembele was told publicly to leave Barca by the club during the January transfer window, after contract talks broke down.

The France international's current deal runs out at the end of the season, meaning he will be able to leave Camp Nou on a free transfer.

However, with no move having materialised before the end of January, Dembele has been reintegrated into Xavi's squad and seems to have rediscovered his form.

Dembele has started Barca's last four LaLiga matches, providing five assists across those appearances.

The 24-year-old also scored and teed up two other goals as a substitute in a 4-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the end of February.

On Tuesday, with Barca's squad given a day off ahead of travelling to Germany for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, Dembele was spotted going to the club's training ground, with reports stating that he did extra physical work.

"He's an example in the way he trains, the way he plays, his attitude and commitment," Xavi told a news conference when asked about Dembele. 

"I don't know how he was before but I've got no complaints. I see a very happy, very motivated player and with his winning attitude.

"He's happy and comfortable here and so that's not a surprise that he trained on his day off. He's a great professional, I said that when he wasn't playing as well."

Dembele created seven chances in Barca's win over Sevilla on Sunday, also providing the pass for Pedri's goal in a 1-0 victory.

Earlier this week, Barca executive Mateu Alemany reportedly met with Dembele's agent to restart negotiations over a new deal, and this speculation was confirmed by Xavi.

"It is a negotiation. We are also in talks with Ronald [Araujo], Gavi, Sergi Roberto, it is a process," he said.

"The club knows my priorities and we are working. Hopefully Dembele can stay, with work he can be the best in his position.

"The club is working hard and I hope they decide to stay. Gavi, Araujo, Dembele... if we can have them next year we'll be a better team and squad."

Xavi was equally as effusive in his praise for Araujo, who he revealed has agreed to fresh terms.

"For us he is a guarantee and Barcelona have a central defender for ten years or more," Xavi said.

"There are few central defenders in the world like him. He has been the key in the negotiation. He is very humble, direct, he is a luxury.

"I am delighted. As a person he is a hard worker. Barcelona fans can be proud that he has decided to stay at Barcelona."

Pedri is among the best players in world football, so says his Barcelona club-mate Ferran Torres.

Barca midfielder Pedri is enjoying another fine season after his breakout campaign at Camp Nou in 2020-21.

Though the early part of his season was hindered by injury, Pedri has emerged as a crucial figure as Xavi has rejuvenated Barca since taking over from Ronald Koeman.

Having missed the final three months of 2021, Pedri's 2022 has been brilliant so far, and he scored an exquisite goal against Sevilla in a 1-0 LaLiga win on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Spain international also netted against Galatasaray to help Barca progress to the Europa League quarter-finals, with Eintracht Frankfurt next up.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's clash in Germany, Torres said that is a "luxury" to play alongside such a talent.

"It doesn't surprise us," Torres told a news conference when asked about Pedri's form.

"Seeing him every day is a luxury, he has great quality and how he's handling it, with humility."

Torres also spoke glowingly of coach Xavi, whose team are unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions and are now up to second in LaLiga.

"Xavi has transmitted his confidence to me from the first day. I'm in good shape and helping the team," the former Manchester City forward added.

Barca are facing Frankurt for the first time in their history. The Bundesliga club have never lost at home in major European competition in the quarter-finals and beyond (P16 W12 D4 L0) – this is the most such games any side has ever played in major European competition without being defeated.

And Torres insisted overconfidence will be no issue.

"The coach makes it clear to us that we have to go game by game because if you lose tomorrow, nobody remembers the dynamic. Humility, work and desire to achieve victory," he said.

"It is the first step to fight for that Europa League and we will do everything on our part to achieve it."

Barcelona can begin to plot their route to the Europa League final after learning which teams stand in the way of them reaching the Seville showpiece.

Xavi's side must tackle Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals, before the winner of that tie goes on to tackle West Ham or Lyon in the semi-finals.

This competition represents the last realistic chance for Barcelona to finish the season with silverware, given they are out of the Copa del Rey and trail Real Madrid by 15 points in LaLiga.

Head coach Xavi was appointed in November, succeeding Ronald Koeman, and his side edged past Galatasaray at the last-16 stage as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pedri earned a 2-1 second-leg win in Istanbul following a goalless first leg.

Eintracht booked their last-eight place by getting the better of another Spanish side, Real Betis, on Thursday. It took an own goal in the 120th minute from Guido Rodriguez to secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate success for Eintracht, who won the UEFA Cup in 1980 but cannot match Barcelona's European heritage.

Barcelona have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, but they have never lifted the trophy in the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

The clash of West Ham and Lyon promises to be a gripping tie between English and French rivals, while RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga will take on Serie A's Atalanta.

Scottish giants Rangers, who have knocked out Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in the previous two rounds, will face Portuguese side Braga.

The quarter-final ties will be played over two legs, on April 7 and 14, with the semi-finals on April 28 and May 5. The Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stages the final on May 18.

Europa League quarter-final draw

RB Leipzig v Atalanta

Eintracht Frankfurt v Barcelona

West Ham v Lyon

Braga v Rangers

Semi-final draw

RB Leipzig/Atalanta v Braga/Rangers

West Ham/Lyon v Eintracht Frankfurt/Barcelona

While praising his side's win over Galatasaray in the Europa League, Barcelona coach Xavi says it can mean nothing with Sunday's El Clasico in mind.

The Blaugrana will have to back up quickly from Thursday's 2-1 win on aggregate, progressing to the quarter-finals in the process, with a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid awaiting. 

"Today was an important game, because we are playing for a European trophy," Xavi told reporters after the match. "We want to go far in this competition, and we are very happy to be in the quarter-finals, as we deserve to be there.

"Yes, we are in good form at the moment heading into El Clasico, but that means nothing.

"I have experienced everything about those games, playing badly and then winning or playing well and then they beat us. Sunday will be a different story, a very difficult and complex one."

Barcelona's win in Istanbul was partly clouded by injuries to Sergino Dest and Gerard Pique, who both had to come off in the second half.

With Barca already leading 2-1, Dest produced a desperate but perfectly-timed sliding tackle on Muhammed Aturkoglu in the 55th minute, injuring his hamstring in the process.

Dest’s injury comes at an inconvenient time for club, with Sunday’s Clasico awaiting, and country, with Gregg Berhalter announcing Dest in the United States national team’s latest squad only hours after the final whistle.

Gerard Pique was also a second-half substitute, aggravating a groin injury coming into the match and coming off for Clement Lenglet in the 81st minute.

"In the end he told me that it was difficult for him to sprint and we decided to make the change," Xavi told Movistar+ post-match.

"We weren’t there to give it away. We only won with one goal, and Pique has had discomfort for a month."

Though Dest's status is questionable for Sunday, it is as yet unclear whether Pique will be fit in time for Barcelona's clash against their fierce rivals.

David Moyes ranks West Ham's elimination over Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday among the most special nights in his time at the club.

Andriy Yarmolenko’s 112th-minute winner gave the Hammers a 2-0 win on the night, with the tie locked at 1-1 on aggregate after 90 minutes, following Tomas Soucek's first-half goal.

West Ham have now progressed to their first European quarter-finals since the 1980-81 Cup Winners’ Cup, where they lost to Dinamo Tbilisi.

From surviving Premier League relegation in 2019-20 to Thursday's elimination of the six-time Europa League holders in Sevilla, Moyes was quick to bring it all into perspective.

"This will be as high as we have had,” he told BT Sport post-match. “We have had other nights, avoiding relegation was an incredible high but thankfully we have moved on from that.

"Beating a serial winner of this competition made it a bit more special. They just keep going. You could see the resilience in them. We keep on going.

"Nights like this really help you build. I thought Sevilla were probably favourites for the tournament. For us to beat them over two legs is an incredible result."

Hammers midfielder Declan Rice believes confidence is flowing through the club, and is comfortable with any potential opponent, including Barcelona – who progressed past Galatasaray earlier on Thursday.

"I’ll take anyone [in the quarter-finals],” he told BT Sport. "There's no one to fear. Sevilla were probably the favourites. We can go anywhere and get a result. Teams come here knowing they’re in for a game.

"It would be special to go there [to Barcelona]. That's what this club deserves, there's a big buzz around the place. David Moyes deserves massive credit.

"I'm lost for words. Walking around the pitch, taking it in. I love West Ham fans. They care so much about this club. They demand 100 per cent and if you do that, they treat you as one of their own. It was special to be on the pitch tonight."

After scoring upon his return against Aston Villa on the weekend, Yarmolenko's winner provided a poignant moment amid the backdrop of armed conflict in his native Ukraine, according to Rice.

"Yarmolenko was a little bit emotional away from the lads afterwards," Rice said. "For what he's been through to perform like this is a credit to him – his desire, the way he chased players and scored two crucial goals.

"He deserves this. He's stepped up, I'm delighted for him."

Michail Antonio was bullish on West Ham's chances of winning the Europa League after the Premier League side progressed past Sevilla to the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Trailing the six-time Europa League winners 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg, Andriy Yarmolenko won the tie in the 22nd minute of extra time following Antonio's assist for Tomas Soucek in the first half of normal time.

This will be West Ham's first European quarter-finals appearance since the 1980-81 Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Dinamo Tbilisi.

Nevertheless, Antonio feels the Hammers can go on and take the silverware.

"We fear nobody. We play in the Premier League and it doesn’t matter who we play, we try to get the three points," he told BT Sport post-match. "We're in this to win it. We're not just here to take part. Why can't we win it?"

Antonio became only the second player to notch 10 goals and assists for a Premier League club in all competitions this season, after Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. He is the first to do so for West Ham since Dimitri Payet in 2015-16.

He was taken off injured against Aston Villa but managed to play 120 minutes on Thursday, and the 31-year-old believes the home crowd at London Stadium spurred him on.

"I've been here seven years and the only atmosphere close to this was the last day at the Boleyn Ground. The fans roared all the way through, backing us. They were the 12th man," he said.

"I’ll give the win to them, they were the ones who did it for us.

"This season is like a dream come true. This is the first time in Europe for me. I've become West Ham's Premier League top scorer. We're just here enjoying our football."

In the battle between sixth in the Premier League and second in LaLiga, West Ham were the more aggressive, but had to be patient to find the breakthrough.

That the winner came from Yarmolenko, amid the backdrop of armed conflict in his native Ukraine, provided Antonio some added joy.

"We dominated. We always believed in ourselves. From the first half we were on them, creating chances. [We thought] keep doing what we're doing and we'd get the win," he added.

"Andriy Yarmolenko is such a lovely guy. I can't imagine what he's going through. He's got a finishing touch now. Hopefully he can keep doing it."

Michail Antonio was bullish on West Ham's chances of winning the Europa League after the Premier League side progressed past Sevilla to the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Trailing the six-time Europa League winners 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg, Andriy Yarmolenko won the tie in the 22nd minute of extra time following Antonio's assist for Tomas Soucek in the first half of normal time.

This will be West Ham's first European quarter-finals appearance since the 1980-81 Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Dinamo Tbilisi.

Nevertheless, Antonio feels the Hammers can go on and take the silverware.

"We fear nobody. We play in the Premier League and it doesn’t matter who we play, we try to get the three points," he told BT Sport post-match. "We're in this to win it. We're not just here to take part. Why can't we win it?"

Antonio became only the second player to notch 10 goals and assists for a Premier League club in all competitions this season, after Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. He is the first to do so for West Ham since Dimitri Payet in 2015-16.

He was taken off injured against Aston Villa but managed to play 120 minutes on Thursday, and the 31-year-old believes the home crowd at London Stadium spurred him on.

"I've been here seven years and the only atmosphere close to this was the last day at the Boleyn Ground. The fans roared all the way through, backing us. They were the 12th man," he said.

"I’ll give the win to them, they were the ones who did it for us.

"This season is like a dream come true. This is the first time in Europe for me. I've become West Ham's Premier League top scorer. We're just here enjoying our football."

In the battle between sixth in the Premier League and second in LaLiga, West Ham were the more aggressive, but had to be patient to find the breakthrough.

That the winner came from Yarmolenko, amid the backdrop of armed conflict in his native Ukraine, provided Antonio some added joy.

"We dominated. We always believed in ourselves. From the first half we were on them, creating chances. [We thought] keep doing what we're doing and we'd get the win," he added.

"Andriy Yarmolenko is such a lovely guy. I can't imagine what he's going through. He's got a finishing touch now. Hopefully he can keep doing it."

Allan McGregor stacked up the goalkeeping records as Rangers reached a European quarter-final for the first time since their run to the 2008 UEFA Cup final.

The 40-year-old made 11 saves to limit Red Star Belgrade to a 2-1 win in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie, giving Rangers a 4-2 aggregate victory.

That was three more saves than any other goalkeeper had managed in a Europa League game this season – Fernando Muslera of Galatasaray made eight against Marseille – and the most by a Rangers goalkeeper since the competition was launched in 2009-10, replacing the UEFA Cup.

McGregor's saves total was the highest ever by a goalkeeper aged 40 or above in the Europa League, Opta said. Only Tim Howard, who made 12 saves for Everton against Wolfsburg in 2014, has ever made more stops in a game for a British club in the competition.

Former Rangers boss Ally McCoist said of McGregor: "He's been fantastic over these two games.

"Some of these saves he's produced, you'd think he's 20 years of age again. He's been wonderful. What a servant to the football club."

It was the first time since David de Gea made 10 stops for Manchester United against Roma on May 6 last year that any goalkeeper had reached double figures in saves in a Europa League match.

McGregor was making his 50th appearance in the UEFA Cup/Europa League, becoming the first Rangers player to reach that landmark with the club.

The last player to make more saves in a Europa League game was Karl-Johan Johnsson of FC Copenhagen in their 1-0 quarter-final defeat to Manchester United in August 2020.

McGregor, who missed out on appearing in the 2008 UEFA Cup trophy match through injury, earned praise from current Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

"At moments he needs to be there, he is there. I'm really happy with his performances. Even at his age he's really important for us," Van Bronckhorst told BT Sport.

Rangers knocked out Borussia Dortmund in the first knockout round and are beginning to cut a swathe through a strong field of clubs, just as they did on their UEFA Cup run 14 years ago.

Mirko Ivanic gave Red Star an early lead on Thursday and they pushed for more, but Ryan Kent's goal against the run of play in the 56th minute put the Scottish visitors back in control.

A late penalty from El Fardou Ben Nabouhane gave Red Star victory on the night, but it was Rangers who were celebrating at the final whistle.

Van Bronckhorst added: "Our belief is only getting stronger. There are big teams left in the draw, so we have to wait and see tomorrow [when the draw takes place].

"The opponent will be stronger with each round. The result against Dortmund is one that the whole of Europe thinks is a great achievement. We're going to enjoy the night, and then prepare for Dundee on Sunday."

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