FC Barcelona vs Celtic: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Celtic have returned to the Champions League group stages after two seasons in the Europa League and they have an exciting match against Barcelona to kick things off. The two teams have played each other on a few occasions in the past five years and the Scottish champions have had some success against one of the best sides in Europe. They managed to beat them at Parkhead during the 2012/13 season and they will be hoping for a positive result on Tuesday.
The home side on Tuesday are coming into the match after a disappointing defeat against La Liga new boys Alaves. Luis Enrique decided to play a weakened team, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez starting from the bench. They will all come back in on Tuesday and Los Cules will be motivated to bounce back with a strong performance.
After an embarrassing result against Lincoln Red Imps, Brendan Rodgers is beginning to make his mark on his new side. They managed to convincingly win the first Old Firm derby of the season on Saturday and the squad will arrive at the Nou Camp in fine spirits. Although they won’t be expecting to get a result, it is a great opportunity to test themselves against an elite club.
The other sides in Group C are Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City. It is a difficult group for Celtic, but Brendan Rodgers will be relishing the opportunity to test himself against some of the very best players and managers in European football.
Barcelona have picked up six points from their opening three league matches, after beating Sevilla in both legs of the Spanish Super Cup. Their defeat to Alaves was unexpected, but it is an early reminder that they must be at the top of their game in every match. They are unlikely to falter in consecutive matches, unfortunately for their Scottish opponents.
Celtic have started their league campaign with four successive victories and have already opened up a four point lead with a game in hand. In Europe, they have had a mixed record. The Bhoys have won their three home matches, but have yet to taste victory away from Celtic Park.
The bad news for Brendan Rodgers is that the attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are set to start together for the first time this season. Andres Iniesta is expected to come back into the starting eleven, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen trained on Monday and could replace Jasper Cillessen in goal.
Scott Brown travelled to Spain after being taken off injured during the Old Firm derby. He is expected to start. Not many changes are expected from Celtic after their glorious display on Saturday. Patrick Roberts is the only other contender to start.
FC Barcelona Celtic
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Marc-Andre ter Stegen has returned to training and is available for the match on Tuesday. Andre Gomes is struggling and is likely to miss out.
The huge blow for Celtic is that striker Leigh Griffiths will be missing as he recovers from his hamstring tear. Scott Brown is expected to be fit, despite picking up an injury at the weekend.
It is straight out of the frying pan and into the fire for Celtic, as they move from the Old Firm derby to a match against arguably the most talented team in Europe. Barcelona may have lost at the weekend, but they rarely lose consecutive matches and the prospect of their feared attacking triad starting their first match of the season is frightening, especially as Celtic have Kolo Toure in defence. I expect the Scottish champions to put up a spirited fight, but they are on a hiding to nothing and Barcelona should triumph by three or four goals.
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