Celtic FC vs FC Barcelona: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics and Key Stats | UEFA Champions League

Brendan Rodgers and his Celtic side welcome Barcelona to the Celtic Park in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Celtic come into the game on the back of some good momentum, with Brendan Rodgers’ men undefeated in the last six, having won five of those. In fact, post the 7-0 demolition by Barcelona, a defeat that will still be on the minds of all the Celtic players and fans, the side has lost just 1 game in 13, a 2-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Barcelona, on the other hand, were held to a 0-0 draw by Malaga at Nou Camp, a result which left Luis Enrique’s side at second place, 4 points off their arch-rivals Real Madrid. The result would be disappointing even though it was a Barcelona side without Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and the club’s inability to defeat a Malaga side that played more than 20 minutes with 10 men and were ultimately reduced to 9, will serve as an eye-opener for Luis Enrique.

Barcelona have already handed Celtic a 7-0 thrashing at Nou Camp and would be looking to score a similar amount of goals, in part, to avenge for the inability to score a single goal against Malaga over the weekend. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the match-up between the Scottish Champions and the Spanish Champions at Celtic Park.

Team News & Tactics

Celtic FC

Brendan Rodgers has only a few injury concerns to take care of ahead of Barcelona’s visit. 19-year-old Kieran Tierney is out for the game which all but guarantees Emilio Izaguirre’s deployment at the left-back position. Kris Commons, who has been out for around six months, has finally returned to training but is most likely to be unavailable for the match.

Leigh Griffiths is a major doubt for the game but all eyes will be on Moussa Dembele, whose performances have already attracted the interest of many European elites, including Barcelona, and the youngster would be eager to give a good account of his abilities on Wednesday night.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Gamboa, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre; Brown, Armstrong; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Dembele

FC Barcelona

Barcelona were without the superstar duo of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez over the weekend but both the stars are scheduled to return for the away game against Celtic. French defensive duo of Samuel Umtiti and Jeremy Mathieu are out injured for the game, which means that Luis Enrique is likely to deploy the pairing of Mascherano and Pique at the back.

Elsewhere, Andres Iniesta is out with a knee injury which means Denis Suarez is likely to start alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in the midfield but Luis Enrique may choose to start Andre Gomes instead. It would be interesting to see if the manager decides to rest any of his key stars or if he fields a full-strength squad against Celtic, keeping in mind the fixture congestion.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Digne; Rakitic, Busquets, Gomes; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Key Stats:

1. Celtic have a good record against Barcelona at Celtic Park having won 2 and drawn 1 of the 6 times that they have hosted the Catalan giants.

2. Celtic have failed to keep a clean sheet in the Champions League for 17 successive matches now, their longest run in the competition.

3. Celtic are without a win in the Champions League for seven games now. Failure to record a win at Celtic Park would mean an eighth successive win-less game, which would equal their previous longest win-less streak in the competition.

4. It is a case of the best attack against the second weakest defence in the Champions League. Barcelona lead the competition in number of goals scored with 14 while Celtic have conceded 13 goals, second only to Legia Warsaw’s 16.

5. Celtic’s 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona is the heaviest defeat inflicted in the current season of the Champions League.


Celtic FC 3 – 5 FC Barcelona

If Luis Enrique chooses to start with a full-strength squad, this could just be set up to be another mauling for Celtic. Even though Rodgers has been doing well at Celtic, the visiting club would be eager to prove their scoring credentials.

Set for another sizzling performance? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
Set for another sizzling performance? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

The scoreline could get ugly again but considering Celtic’s attack, which is led by the young powerhouse Moussa Dembele, the Scottish champions could very well foil Barcelona’s chances of maintaining a clean sheet. It looks set to be a goal glut at Celtic Park on Wednesday with Barcelona favoured to win. But, as Celtic have already shown this season against Manchester City, they may surprise their visitors by taking a point or three from the match.

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