Atletico Madrid vs Celtic Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

Atletico Madrid will be keen to keep the heat on leaders Feyenoord Rotterdam when they take on Celtic at home on Tuesday night.

La Liga giants Atletico Madrid will be keen to take another step towards qualification for the knockout rounds when they welcome Celtic to the Civitas Metropolitan Stadium in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night.

Diego Simeone’s side, while unbeaten in the competition this season, are yet to gain a stranglehold on the group. They have picked up five points from the first three games and are within touching distance of early leaders Feyenoord Rotterdam in Group E of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.

Celtic, on the other hand, are rock bottom and their only point in the competition came against Atletico on Matchday three. The Scottish champions twice took the lead on the night before Simeone’s men drew level for a share of the spoils.

With just three games to go in the group stage, Celtic will know that nothing less than a win will do on the night. However, the task won’t be easy as the Civitas Metropolitan remains a formidable venue for visiting teams.

This is not good news for the Scottish Premiership champions, who have failed to win away in the competition since 2017. They have also managed just one clean sheet in their last 34 games in the Champions League.

Brendan Rodgers’s side might be running away with the domestic title, but their aura of domestic invincibility does not translate to the continent. While obtaining a top-two finish in the group is an uphill task, Celtic could give themselves a shot at dropping down to the Europa League should they finish third.

Rodgers is not known for his ability to tactically outmanoeuvre opponents on the continent and once again sees his side go into the game as underdogs. For Atletico, they will be expected to secure maximum points and take a giant step towards securing a spot in the Round of 16. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on Sunday and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid showed plenty of heart to not just salvage a point away from Celtic last time around but also hold on after Rodrigo De Paul was sent off. With home support to boot, they will now aim to secure maximum points and take one giant leap to secure a final 16 spot.

Diego Simeone’s men have struggled to start games well in the Champions League this season. They conceded in stoppage time away to Lazio on the opening day before falling behind early on against both Feyenoord and Celtic in subsequent matchdays.

While Atletico’s quality has seen them avoid defeat on all three occasions, they have much to do before giving themselves a chance to go all the way. De Paul is suspended for the clash while the trio of Thomas Lemar, Samuel Lino and Ivo Grbic are all out injured.

Simone is also sweating on the fitness of Reinildo and Memphis Depay, both of whom are doubts about starting on the night. He has an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from. A 3-5-2 formation should be the way to go with Jan Oblak in goal.

The trio of Stefan Savic, Mario Hermoso and Axel Witsel should form the back three, with Nahuel Molina and Javi Galan out on the wings. The Spanish trifecta of Saul Niguez, Marcos Llorente and Koke should hold the fort in the middle, giving Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata the freedom to push forward.

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

Atletico Madrid vs Celtic Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats.


Brendan Rodgers’s side threw away the lead twice in the return fixture on Matchday three and now face a challenge to repeat the performance away in Madrid. They prepared for the clash with a convincing 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend and will hope to end their six-game losing streak in Spain.

The Scots will be without four players as Stephen Welsh, Liel Abada, Reo Hatate and James McCarthy are all out injured. Nothing less than a win will do, and Rodgers has little choice but to play his strongest available XI.

A 4-3-3 formation appears to be the best bet for Celtic, with Joe Hart in between the sticks. The English veteran should be protected by the back four of Alistair Johnston, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liam Scales and Greg Taylor.

Callum McGregor should form the base of the midfield with Matt O’Riley and Paulo Bernardo providing support in the centre.  Kyogo Furuhashi opened the scoring last time around and should retain his spot in the attack, with Luis Palma and Daizen Maeda providing the width.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; Bernardo, McGregor, O’Riley; Palma, Furuhashi, Maeda

Atletico Madrid vs Celtic Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats.

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid and Celtic have met seven times in European competitions so far with the Spanish giants yet to experience a single loss. They have won four games while drawing the other three.
  • Celtic have played away in Spain seven times in the UEFA Champions League. They are currently on a six-game losing streak in the Iberian nation.
  • Should Atletico Madrid avoid defeat on the night, it will be the first time since the 2016/17 campaign that they will have played their first four group games without experiencing a defeat.
  • Celtic have kept just one clean sheet in their last 34 UEFA Champions League games. They are seeking their first win in the competition since 2017, a run of 13 matches.
  • Celtic are winless in their last six away trips in the UEFA Champions League. They last won an away game in the competition in 2017 against Anderlecht.

Player to Watch

Kyogo Furuhashi

Embed from Getty Images

The Japanese international has been a revelation for Celtic and continues to score on a consistent basis. He opened the scoring last time around and is also capturing the attention of Tottenham Hotspur scouts. A tricky customer, he is a difficult player to take down. Atletico have been slow off the mark this season and getting at them from the whistle could help Furuhashi catch them napping.


Atletico Madrid 2-1 Celtic

Atletico Madrid are unlikely to dominate proceedings as Celtic should get stuck in. While the visitors can cause a scare or two, the difference in quality and depth should in the end make the difference. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 victory for Diego Simeone and his charges.

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