With the thoughts of becoming the first Ö. Bundesliga history to win their opening nine matches of a season and being described as currently one of the best teams in Europe by Ralf Rangnick in mind, Red Bull Salzburg welcome Celtic to Wals-Siezenheim with a 22,000 capacity crowd awaiting.
When you think of Scottish football, Celtic is one of the immediate thoughts. The holders of the last seven Scottish Premier League titles – 49 in total – they have been unable to assert their dominance this season and find themselves in a position of fifth, trailing six points behind league leaders, Hearts of Midlothian, after seven matches. However, at the weekend Celtic won for the first time since their Old Firm triumph on September 2 with a 1-0 win at home to Aberdeen.
Brendan Rodgers’ side endured a similar route to the Europa League group stage as Red Bull Salzburg, with them being knocked out during Champions League qualifying by AEK Athens in a 3-2 aggregate defeat. And like their opposition, they started Group B on the front foot with a 1-0 win over Rosenborg – the team Celtic had overcome in round two to book their tickets to Greece.
This will not be the first set of meetings between the current Scottish and Austrian Champions, as back in 2014/15, the two were paired together in Group D and met on Matchday 1 at the Red Bull Arena in a game in which the hosts came from behind twice, thanks to Alan’s deflected effort and Jonatan Soriano’s sensational free-kick, to achieve a 2-2 draw.
Celtic captain, Scott Brown, will be counting his lucky stars that he is a doubt for this match as he doesn’t have the fondest of memories facing Red Bull Salzburg, once stating in the club’s magazine that the side coach by Adi Hütter left him gasping for air after a quarter of an hour.
“Salzburg were one of the highest-pressing teams I’ve ever played against. My face went red after about 15 minutes of the game.”
Red Bull Salzburg could also be without their captain, Andreas Ulmer, due to an ankle problem and Amadou Haidara, who sustained a knee injury and was substituted in the record-breaking win over Wolfsberg at the weekend.
Date: Thursday, October 4, 2018
Kick-off: 18:55 (CEST)
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Referee: Serhiy Boiko (Ukraine)
Broadcasting: DAZN (Austria) | BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom) | B/R Live (United States)
18.09.14: Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Celtic
27.11.14: Celtic 1-3 Red Bull Salzburg
Red Bull Salzburg
St. Pölten 1-3 (A) |RB Leipzig 2-3 (A) | Rapid Vienna 2-1 (H) | Schwaz 0-6 (A) | Wolfsberg 1-4 (A)
Rangers 1-0 (H) | St. Mirren 1-1 (A) | Rosenborg 1-0 (H) | Kilmarnock 2-1 (A) |Aberdeen 1-0 (H)
Red Bull Salzburg
Injured: Patrick Farkas (cruciate ligament)
Doubtful: Andreas Ulmer (ankle) | Amadou Haidara (knee)
Injured: Kris Ajer (muscle strain) | Tom Rogić (unknown)
Doubtful: Scott Brown (hamstring)
Red Bull Salzburg
Lainer – Ramalho – Pongračić – Todorović
Junuzović – Samassékou – Schlager
Gulbrandsen – Dabbur
Lustig – Boyata – Šimunović – Tierney
Forrest – Ntcham – Mcgregor – Sinclair
Marco Rose: “Even if Celtic haven’t played a classic long ball style for a long time, we are set to have a physically very demanding match. We obviously want to press on after winning our first match and continue our good run for as long as we can.”
Diadie Samassékou: “With the first match of the group we have created a very good starting point, and we really want to build on that against Celtic. If we don’t go fully into our challenges in this match, it will be difficult. It will be a very demanding match for this reason.”
Quotes via redbullsalzburg.at
Red Bull Salzburg 2-1 Celtic