Celtic vs Leipzig – Thursday, November 8, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland
Beaten 2-0 at RB Leipzig on matchday three, Celtic host the German club in Glasgow knowing that they can ill afford another defeat if they are to keep alive their hopes of qualifying from UEFA Europa League Group B.
Celtic were utterly dominated at the RB Arena in Leipzig and, in the end, were lucky that the margin of Leipzig’s result was not more significant. Leipzig have been in fantastic form in all competitions and since defeating Celtic have also eliminated Hoffenheim from the DFB Pokal and climbed to fourth in the Bundesliga standings.
On Saturday RB Leipzig dismantled Hertha at the Berlin Olympiastadion. “We are in the flow at the moment,” centreback Willi Orban told the media after Saturday’s result. Long forgotten seems to be the poor result against sister club FC Salzburg on matchday 1 of the Europa League.
“Everything is perfect at the moment,” striker Timo Werner, who scored two goals on Saturday, added. Interims head coach Ralf Rangnick has been very much the father of Leipzig’s recent success. “He managed to get the best out of every player in this squad. No matter who plays, everyone fulfils their rolls 100%,” striker Yussuf Poulsen added.
That last part has been key for Leipzig. Although die Roten Bullen have a small squad they will likely once again rotate when they travel to Scotland to face Celtic for the second time in a fortnight. If Leipzig complete the double over Celtic, they would be through to the round of 32 should Rosenborg fail to beat leaders Salzburg in the other Group B encounter.
Celtic, in turn, will be out if they lose and Salzburg avoid defeat. Going by Celtic’s performance two weeks ago there is little hope that the side coached by Brendan Rodgers can get anything against Leipzig.
In some ways that game was a wake-up call for the Bhoys. Celtic responded to the Leipzig defeat by eliminating Hearts of Midlothian with a 3-0 triumph in the Cup, then defeated Dundee 5-0 before once again dismantling league leaders Hearts 5-0 on the weekend.
Those results will bring some optimism, as will the fact that Celtic are a tough opponent at the Paradise in Glasgow. But Leipzig have been a team unimpressed with historic opponents in the past and despite the noise at the Paradise will be favourites to win all three points.
Celtic vs Leipzig – Players to look out for:
Odsonne Edouard #22 – Celtic
Odsonne Edouard was on fantastic form this weekend against Hibernian. Signed from Paris Saint-Germain for €10.3 million this summer the 20-year-old French U-19 national team player has already scored four goals and one assist in eight Premiership games. The striker has also added three goals in five Champions League qualification games and one goal in two Europa League games.
Yussuf Poulsen #9 – RB Leipzig
Yussuf Poulsen has been almost an unsung hero at RB Leipzig over the last few years. In the shadow of Timo Werner and the more prolific speedsters, Jean-Kevin Augustin and Bruma Poulsen rarely shines by scoring fantastic goals or making fast runs that threaten the opponent’s defence. Instead, Poulsen’s skillset is to hold balls and creating room for his faster teammates. As a result, Poulsen was not a prolific goalscorer in the past and scored just five goals in 29 Bundesliga games in the 2016/17 season and four goals in 30 games in the 2017/18 Bundesliga season. Scoring more goals was, therefore, high on the agenda of the Danish national team striker and Poulsen has delivered by already scoring four goals in ten Bundesliga games this season.
Celtic vs Leipzig – Match Stats
- The two teams had never met in UEFA competition before matchday three when Leipzig faced Scottish opponents for the first time.
- The Glasgow club are unbeaten in continental contests at Celtic Park in 2018 (W5 D1), their matchday one victory over Rosenborg (1-0) ending a ten-match winless run in European group stage fixtures (D2 L8).
- Leipzig are unbeaten away from home in Europe this term, their 3-1 win at Rosenborg on matchday two following three successive draws in the UEFA Europa League qualifying phase. Their away record in two seasons of European competition is W3 D4 L3.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Celtic vs Leipzig – 1-2
Celtic vs Leipzig – Lineups
Gordon – Tierney, Benkovic, Boyata, Lustig – McGregor, Rogic, Christie – Sinclair, Forrest – Edouard
Head Coach: Brendan Rodger
Mvogo – Halstenberg, Upamecano, Orban, Laimer – Demme, Kampl – Bruma, Sabitzer – Werner, Augustin
Head Coach: Ralf Rangnick
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.