The potentially explosive meeting became a real possibility yesterday when a day before the Uefa control and disciplinary committee meets to decide whether to disqualify Stuttgart for their astonishing faux pas in fielding four 'foreigners' at Elland Road on Wednesday, the European Cup draw brought together the home contenders.
Although it was the German side who were drawn out of the hat for the next round - a technicality - with the Scottish champions, there are few Yorkshiremen who do not believe it will be their heroes who will be lining up in the Ibrox Stadium on 21 October.
Leeds might first have to beat Stuttgart again if Uefa awards them a 3-0 second-leg victory - the score used in defaults - which would leave the sides all square and necessitate a third game, which now looks as though it will take place at Elland Road. But having triumphed 4-1 and with the Germans' morale unquestionably damaged, Howard Wilkinson's team would be confident.
Leeds were heavily represented at the draw for all three European competitions in Geneva, where Uefa insisted on playing the controversy by the book and warned them not to take a reprieve for granted, even though their chairman, Leslie Silver, confirmed their reinstatement, saying: 'Uefa tells us there are only two possible outcomes. One is that Stuttgart will be eliminated from the competition and the other is that the clubs will be ordered to play a deciding game at Elland Road with the scores starting level at 0-0.'
The German champions hope that because they reported the incident they will escape disqualification. They deny a Leeds statement that the English club had instigated the Uefa inquiry. A source claimed: 'Our president informed a leading Uefa official straight away on Thursday morning. It was a matter of us owning up ourselves.'
The mistake is another blow to Stuttgart's coach, Christoph Daum, who has already run into trouble this season with his revelation that VfB used Clenbuterol - a banned steroid that led to two British weightlifters being sent home from the Barcelona Olympics - to help players recover from injury.
He later said he had got things wrong but the German federation is investigating the affair, as well as last month's incident when the 38-year-old angrily kicked down an advertisement board.
Daum has accepted full responsibility for his selection blunder, refusing to blame the complicated wording of the Uefa regulation permitting only three non-nationals to be included in the squad. 'I should read through these things carefully,' he said.
If Leeds are to face Rangers it will be the seventh time they have encountered Scottish opposition. They were successful in all five ties in the old Fairs Cup competition and in the 1967-68 quarter-final they beat Rangers 2-0 over the two legs, which together drew more than 130,000 spectators. At Elland Road Leeds's goalkeeper David Harvey was pelted with bottles and coins by visiting supporters and the game was held up.
Liverpool have been told that their Cup-Winners' Cup game with Spartak Moscow can not go ahead on the scheduled date, a problem which again highlights the difficulties caused by exorbitant television demands.
Spartak's neighbours CSKA are at home to Barcelona in the Champions' Cup, a tie that takes precedence, so Liverpool must play either on the Tuesday (two days after their BSkyB game at Manchester United) or on the Thursday (two days before they tangle with the current leaders Norwich).
In the Uefa Cup second round Sheffield Wednesday face the former German champions, Kaiserslautern, who last season drew 3-3 with Barcelona, the eventual European Cup winners.
Richie Barker, the Wednesday assistant manager, called it a 'tough one' but pointed out: 'We are away from home first, which we prefer. Obviously they are a good side but then any German opposition is difficult. They finished fifth in the German league last season, so it is tough but by no means impossible.'
In the same competition Celtic, after overturning a two-goal first- leg deficit against Cologne, also go back to Germany to meet Borussia Dortmund. They will reverse the draw and play the first leg away because of the Ibrox game, while Hearts tackle Standard Liege, their first opponents in Europe 34 years ago.
EUROPEAN CUP: IFK Gothenburg v *Lech Poznan; Rangers v *VfB Stuttgart or Leeds Utd; Slovan Bratislava v *Milan; Dinamo Bucharest v *Marseille; *Club Brugge v Austria Vienna; Sion (Swit) v *Porto; AEK Athens v *PSV Eindhoven; CSKA Moscow v *Barcelona.
CUP-WINNERS' CUP: Lucerne v *Feyenoord; *Monaco v Olympiakos Piraeus; Aarhus (Den) v *Steaua Bucharest; Trabzonspor (Tur) v *Atletico Madrid; *Admira Wacker (Aut) v Antwerp; Spartak Moscow v *Liverpool; *Werder Bremen v Sparta Prague; *Parma v Boavista (Por).
UEFA CUP: Vitoria Guimaraes (Por) v *Ajax; *Napoli v PAOK Salonika or Paris St Germain; *Kaiserslautern v Sheffield Wednesday; Frem Copenhagen v *Real Zaragoza; Panathinaikos v *Juventus; *Hearts v Standard Liege; *Auxerre v FC Copenhagen; *Real Madrid v Torpedo Moscow; *Borussia Dortmund v Celtic; Arnhem v *Mechelen; *Roma v Grasshoppers Zurich; Fenerbahce (Tur) v *Sigma Olomouc (Cz); *Eintracht Frankfurt v Galatasaray (Tur); *Torino v Dynamo Moscow; *Benfica v Vac Izzo (Hun); *Anderlecht v Dynamo Kiev (Ukr).
(First legs to be played in week of Wednesday 21 October and second legs in week of Wednesday 4 November.)
*denotes seeded club
UEFA'S FOREIGNER RULE
The sixteen (or fewer) players chosen by a club to take part in any match in the competitions as indicated on the referee's report form under article 10, para. 3, of these Regulations, shall not include more than three players who are not eligible to play for the national team of the national association to which that club belongs.
4. In addition, two names of assimilated (*) players may also appear on the referee's official report form if they have played for an uninterrupted period of five years in the country of the national Association concerned, three years of which must have been spent in playing youth football. Players who fulfil these conditions on 1st July 1992 wil be considered retrospectively as assimilated.
*more than two, but no more than five assimilated players may appear on the referee's official report from if the club reduces the number of non-national players selected, for a combined total of five, eg. two non-nationals and three assimilated, one non-national and four assimilated.Reuse content