Things are not going great for Celtic at this moment due to form and fitness concerns. They failed to secure a home win against Dundee United on Sunday afternoon and the pressure, therefore, is mounting on gaffer Ange Postecoglou. They lost to Real Betis on the road in their opening Europa League group stage encounter and a defeat on Thursday night against mighty Bayer Leverkusen would further jeopardize their European hopes.
Surprisingly, these two sides would lock horns for the first time ever. The German hotshots knocked Rangers out from the Round of 16 just over a year ago and an impressive start in Bundesliga under Gerardo Seoane depicts their superiority over the struggling Glasgow giants in this prestigious competition. It is to be seen now whether the Hoops could script a miracle at Celtic Park.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Bayer Leverkusen
Joe Hart has been captaining the side amid the injury absence of skipper Callum McGregor. The veteran English custodian is likely to have a busy midweek against the likes of Patrik Schick, Florian Wirtz, Karim Bellarabi, Lucas Alario and Moussa Diaby.
Juan Juranovic was forced to leave the pitch against Dundee United with a hamstring pull. The test against Die Werkself might come too soon for the Croatian and the manager is expected to rely on teenager Adam Montgomery as a left fullback. Right-back Jeremie Frimpong would return to Parkhead as a Leverkusen player and academy graduate Anthony Ralston should operate from the right having succeeded the young Dutchman this term. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt would continue in the heart of defence despite their frailty and limitation.
Callum McGregor might not get fit enough to be in the starting lineup in such a high-intensity contest. Although James McCarthy was putting a shift in the Scotsman’s absence, a knock versus the Tangerines might leave Postecoglou with Ismaila Soro as the only alternative to occupy the deep-lying midfield role. The Ivorian must uplift his game to cement a place in the side and the pressure would be immense on David Turnbull and Tom Rogic who aren’t going to have enough space to dominate the midfield game. The pair must concentrate more on marshalling the backline and wait for counter-attacks.
Celtic’s attacking third is wafer-thin with Kyogo Furuhashi, James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Giorgos Giakoumakis all nursing their respective injury woes. The ‘front three’ should remain the same and the misfiring Albian Ajeti is likely to lead the line once again due to lack of attacking options. However, both Filipe Jota and Liel Abada have been exquisite down the flanks and the expectations would be sky high from the young pair to deliver crosses and create goalscoring opportunities against the run.