Scottish champions Celtic will lock horns with La Liga holders Barcelona at Celtic Park on Wednesday night on matchday five in the Champions League. Brendan Rodgers’ boys are sitting bottom of the group C with just two points to their name whereas Leaders Barcelona have all but qualified with nine points. However, Barcelona need to pick up a win in order to keep their lead at the top whereas Celtic could still manage a Europa League spot for them if they win their game and the other results go their way.
The reverse fixture ended 7-0 at Camp Nou in favour of Barcelona and Celtic will be looking for a revenge even though it’s unlikely. Here are three key battles which could decide the game.
Luis Suarez vs Jozo Simunovic
One of the best strikers in the world, if not the best, Luis Suarez will be looking to tear apart the Celtic defence. The Hoops defence was ripped apart by the deadly triumvirate of Messi, Suarez and Neymar in the reverse fixture and the same thing could happen yet again if Celtic defence is not at their best.
Luis Suarez will be a key man for the Blaugrana against the Hoops. Jozo Simunovic is not accustomed to playing against such gifted strikers in the domestic league and will have a big test on his hands to keep the Uruguayan silent.
Ivan Rakitic Vs Scott Brown
Rakitic provides the drive in Barcelona midfield. With Andres Iniesta out injured, the Croat will have an extra responsibility. Scott Brown is in brilliant form and has bossed the midfield on a weekly basis this season in the domestic league. The Scottish international will give a neck to neck fight to Rakitic for midfield dominance and we have to wait and see who comes out as the winner. If Brown is able to exert his dominance, he could starve the front three of Suarez, Messi and Neymar.
Gerard Pique Vs Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele has been the biggest reason for joy to the Celtic fans this term. The Frenchman has been scoring for fun this season. With 16 goals from 25 games, the 20-year-old will pose the biggest threat to Barcelona’s defence.
Gerard Pique will be assigned the task to handle Dembele but the quick and strong youngster is a difficult player to deal with. Barcelona’s defence has been shaky of late and Celtic’s pace up front will once again be a massive threat.
Barcelona will miss Umtiti, Dembele’s international under-21 colleague against Celtic who could have come to use thanks to his recovery pace. Mascherano’s lack of pace will be a concern for Barcelona and Pique, therefore, will have to play his best game.
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