The halfway point in the Europa League group stage has been reached. After two matches, RB Leipzig places second in the standings, ahead of this week’s opposition on goal difference. With the aim of distancing themselves from the two below and maintaining the pressure on the top, Die Roten Bullen welcome Celtic to East Germany.
Celtic’s record against German opposition isn’t something that is bellowed out from the Glaswegian rooftops with pride. In their 16 encounters dating back to 1987, just three wins and three draws have been achieved, with the last coming in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup quarter-finals against Stuttgart. What makes this statistic worse for them is that they have never returned from Germany with a win in hand.
Upon their trip to the WWK Arena last weekend, RB Leipzig’s four-match win streak came to an end in a fixture that saw minimal action, no clear-cut opportunities, and a four-minute VAR decision that, in the end, concluded in the rescinding of a Leipzig penalty due to an offside call. On a positive note, Ralf Rangnick’s side was able to achieve back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this campaign.
While Thursday’s host stuttered, Celtic began a streak of their own that has seen them rise from sixth to second in the Scottish Premiership table. Since the defeat in Austria, Celtic have scored ten times in two matches, with a 6-0 triumph at home to St. Johnstone before the international break, then a 4-2 win over Hibernian on the return to domestic action.
After missing training on Monday and Tuesday due to illness, Ibrahima Konaté will not be part of the squad, as won’t Emil Forsberg and Diego Demme, who are suffering from injuries. Erik Majetschak will partially fill in the void created by the trio.
Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
Kick-off: 18:55 (CET)
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Referee: Pavel Královec (Czech Republic)
Broadcasting: BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom) | DAZN (Germany) | B/R Live (United States)
Stuttgart 2-0 (H) | Hoffenheim 1-2 (A) | Rosenborg 1-3 (A) | Nuremberg 6-0 (H) | Augsburg 0-0 (A)
St. Johnstone 0-1 (A) | Aberdeen 1-0 (H) | Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 (A) | St. Johnstone 0-6 (A) | Hibernian 4-2 (H)
Injured: Emil Forsberg (groin), Diego Demme (calf)
Absent: Ibrahima Konaté (illness)
Injured: Scott Brown (calf strain)
Absent: Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic
Doubtful: Filip Benković
Suspended: James Forrest
Mukiele – Orban – Upamecano – Saracchi
Sabitzer – Demme – Kampl
Poulsen – Augustin – Werner
Lustig – Boyata – Benković – Tierney
Rogic – Ntcham – McGregor – Sinclair
Ralf Rangnick: “We know what kind of football Celtic coach, Brendan Rodgers, likes to play. We expect a good, technical side, who will try to bring their full-backs into the game.
The two games against Celtic will decide who will progress to the knockout stages. We desperately want to win tomorrow. There will be a special atmosphere in the stadium, which both the players and fans can look forward to.”
Kevin Kampl: “We can’t wait for both the games against Celtic. There will be a great atmosphere in both the games, which we are excited about. Obviously we will try to win both games.”
RB Leipzig 2-1 Celtic