The key talking points ahead of Celtic’s Europa League clash with RB Leipzig

The key talking points ahead of Celtic’s Europa League clash with RB Leipzig

Celtic face RB Leipzig in the Europa League at Parkhead on Thursday night.

The Hoops sit third in Group B with three points and on the back of a 2-0 defeat in the Red Bull Arena last month.

Here, we look at the talking points ahead of the match.

Must-win game for Celtic

After the first three Group B fixtures Celtic sit six points behind leaders Salzburg and three behind RB Leipzig and are feeling the heat. The Scottish champions have still to play those two teams at home, with a trip to Trondheim to take on struggling bottom side Rosenborg also on the horizon, so mathematically qualification into the knockout stages is still possible. However, Rodgers admitted Thursday’s clash is a must-win game for the Hoops if they are to have any chance of progressing and he wants his side to relish the pressure.

Goals galore

Celtic have scored 23 goals in their last five domestic games while conceding only two so confidence in the Parkhead camp is high. Of course, in the midst of that was their 2-0 defeat by RB Leipzig in Germany. However, there is a sense that the Hoops are building up a head of steam after a sticky start to the season and will surely pose a goal threat against the German side.

Cutting out mistakes

Rodgers wants Kieran Tierney (right) and the rest of his defence to tighten up (Jane Barlow/PA)
Rodgers wants Kieran Tierney (right) and the rest of his defence to tighten up (Jane Barlow/PA)

At his pre-match press conference at the club’s Lennoxtown training facility on Wednesday afternoon, Rodgers stressed the need to keep the back door closed. Celtic have been regularly punished in Europe for mistakes – most recently the two goals in the RB Leipzig defeat were avoidable – and the former Swansea and Liverpool boss urged his players to cut them out to give themselves a better chance.

The Parkhead factor

Parkhead can be raucous on a European night (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Parkhead can be raucous on a European night (Andrew Milligan/PA)

While Celtic’s away record in Europe is lamentably poor, some of the biggest names in Europe have faltered in the east end of Glasgow including Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United. A packed, raucous Celtic Park on a European night under the floodlights might not intimidate the visitors but it can have an inspirational effect on the home side. Can this be another night of glory for those in green and white?

Centre-back pairing

Filip Benkovic scored his first Celtic goal against Hearts (Jane Barlow/PA)
Filip Benkovic scored his first Celtic goal against Hearts (Jane Barlow/PA)

Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata were the preferred centre-back pairing in Saturday’s 5-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Hearts at Parkhead, with the former scoring his first Hoops goal with a bullet header from a Callum McGregor corner. Previous mainstay Kristoffer Ajer, recently returned from a hamstring injury, came on as a second-half substitute to remind Rodgers of his abilities. The Northern Irishman has something of defensive dilemma for this crunch Europa League tie, unless of course he opts to play with a back-three.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Criticism of Celtic has bordered on hysteria, says boss Neil LennonCriticism of Celtic has bordered on hysteria, says boss Neil Lennon

Republic of Ireland U-19 striker signs for CelticRepublic of Ireland U-19 striker signs for Celtic

Celtic sign Republic of Ireland Under-19 forward AfolabiCeltic sign Republic of Ireland Under-19 forward Afolabi

Late Forrest strike ensures Celtic avoid cup upset against DunfermlineLate Forrest strike ensures Celtic avoid cup upset against Dunfermline

More in this Section

Back-row trio could still make England’s clash with IrelandBack-row trio could still make England’s clash with Ireland

Liverpool sticking to their guns and not willing to loan Ryan Kent to RangersLiverpool sticking to their guns and not willing to loan Ryan Kent to Rangers

Republic of Ireland U-19 striker signs for CelticRepublic of Ireland U-19 striker signs for Celtic

Aidan O'Mahony denies Kerry 'witch hunt' against All-Ireland final referee David GoughAidan O'Mahony denies Kerry 'witch hunt' against All-Ireland final referee David Gough


Lifestyle

Triathlete Carolyn Hayes is flat out. Since October 2018, she’s literally been racing around the world.On the treble: Triathlete Carolyn Hayes goes flat out to win a place in the Olympics

Children starting or going back to school is a reminder of how we all need an energy boost when sitting at a desk for hours, no matter what our age.Energy fix: Top 8 snacks for children

A sommelier shares her top tips.The dos and don’ts of serving wine – you just might have been doing it all wrong

It’s that time of year again; the long summer days are numbered, summer’s lease is all too short as she takes her last few breaths.Learning Points: Top tips on coping with back to school stress for you and the kids

More From The Irish Examiner