Celtic enter Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League on the brink of elimination from the competitions as they host Atletico Madrid.

Parkhead plays host to a very important clash against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League for Celtic, who have performed below expectations in the competition so far. Losing to Lazio at this venue in the previous matchday pinned Brendan Rodgers’s side to the bottom of Group E.

Rodgers’s men increased their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a big win over rivals Hearts. Celtic must reproduce their league form in the Champions League, and now should be the right time to evoke their best self.

Yet, the dangers of elimination loom high on Celtic, who could keep Parkhead in a nervous mood ahead of Atletico Madrid’s visit to the venue. A loss would keep them pinned to the bottom of Group E, while a win might fill them with hope to revive their campaign in Europe.

Atletico Madrid have won six games on the bounce as Diego Simeone targets a serious season where his team would challenge for honours. After a few timid campaigns, the Argentine manager has refreshed their form, and everyone’s hitting a good vein of form.

At the weekend, Atletico Madrid managed to brush off the challenge of Celta Vigo, which let them retain their fourth place in La Liga and closer to leaders Real Madrid. As they continue to put in fluid attacking performances in the league, the Rojiblancos have not managed to get a footing in their Champions League group.

They had to come back twice to beat Feyenoord recently but also suffered a late draw against Lazio on the opening matchday. Atletico remain level on points against their Italian counterparts, which puts massive importance on getting a win on Wednesday against Celtic away from home.

Team News & Tactics


Brendan Rodgers will not be able to count on the services of injured pair Liel Abada and Stephen Welsh ahead of the Atletico game. Celtic will welcome key defender Gustaf Lagerbielke back into the fold after he missed the Lazio clash through suspension following his red card against Feyenoord.

Mike Nawrocki could also miss this game with a muscle problem, while attacker Marco Tilio might have to bide his time before making his debut since making the move from Melbourne City.

Rodgers will likely name an unchanged lineup from the win over Hearts, barring the addition of Lagerbiekle in his defensive setup. With Joe Hart in goal, Liam Scales will play in central defence. Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor are best placed to start in the full-back roles.

Callum McGregor will sit at the base of midfield, with Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate on either side in the central roles. Up front, the weekend’s goalscorer Kyogo Furuhashi will lead the line, with Luis Palma and Daizen Maeda completing the front three for Celtic.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hart; Johnstone, Lagerbielke, Scales, Taylor; O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate, Palma, Furuhashi, Maeda

Atletico Madrid

Caglar Soyuncu’s return to the squad at the weekend after over a month on the sidelines provided Simeone with a boost. There are some problems on the defensive side for Atletico Madrid, with Stefan Savic coming down with an illness at the weekend and remains a doubt for the Celtic clash.

Jose Maria Gimenez and Reinildo are also out of the contest, but Simeone still has options he can rely upon to fulfil some roles. The experienced duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Axel Witsel will continue to line in that back three alongside Mario Hermoso.

Thomas Lemar, Memphis Depay and Samuel Lino are also absent from the squad for the trip to Glasgow. Hence, Saul Niguez could slot in at left wing-back, while Koke, Marcos Llorente and Rodrigo De Paul finish the midfield setup with Nahuel Molina on the right flank.

Simeone will continue to rely on the weekend’s hattrick hero, Antoine Griezmann and his strike partner Alvaro Morata, to provide the goals in that two-man frontline.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Azpilicueta, Witsel, Hermoso; Molina, Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Saul; Morata, Griezmann

Key Stats

  • Celtic are yet to pick up their first points in this group after two defeats in their opening two games.
  • Celtic are unbeaten at home in their last nine league games but lost their solitary Champions League fixture against Lazio here.
  • Celtic and Atletico Madrid last met in Europe back in 2011, when the latter won both their group-stage games in the Europa League.
  • Atletico Madrid have won all of their last six games in all competitions.
  • Atletico Madrid have suffered one defeat in the league, while they are still unbeaten in this season’s Champions League.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann has defied a lot of people this season with his return to the very best levels. The hat-trick against Celta Vigo at the weekend showcased what he is capable of, and Diego Simeone will heavily rely on the Frenchman to help the team challenge for honours this season.

While he remains a world champion with France, Griezmann has incidentally not won a league or Champions League title at club level. He would certainly have the passion to win something and should stand a chance this season. Hence, he should start by continuing his rich vein of form and take it to Glasgow when his team faces Celtic.


Celtic 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone’s men have hit a rich vein of form, and Celtic face them probably at the worst time. The Bhoys are in a desperate situation to put points on board in their Champions League group, as a defeat would put them on the brink of elimination from the competition.

Atletico Madrid may have some defensive issues. But even with the current personnel, Simeone can manoeuvre a massive result at Parkhead and possibly even keep a clean sheet. Hence, Celtic will likely suffer their third consecutive defeat in this group against the Spanish giants.

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