BAYERN MUNICH v CELTIC
18/10/17, 19:45, Allianz Arena
Celtic travel to Germany this week for matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League as they take on 5 time winners Bayern Munich.
The German champions have enjoyed a period of dominance in the German Bundesliga stretching back over the last few years, but have endured an indifferent start to their domestic season this time round; a start which cost the Italian Carlo Ancellotti his job as head coach of the German powerhouses.
Despite the recent arrival of fan favourite at Bayern, Jupp Heynckes, Celtic will feel that now is as good a time as any to face a side that has cemented itself as being recognised as one of the best in the world over the last few seasons.
Hoop fans can take solace in the fact that despite their crushing opening defeat to PSG on Matchday one of the tournament in Glasgow, the French side were able to dismantle Bayern in similar fashion, winning the game in Paris 3-0.
After the impressive 0-3 victory in Brussels, the Bhoys placed one foot firmly in European football beyond Christmas, so any sort of result in the two games against the German giants and the remaining fixture against PSG in Paris can be seen as an added bonus to what has already been a decent European campaign for the Scottish treble winners.
Brendan Rodgers without influential skipper Scott Brown for the weekends victory over Dundee at Celtic Park, along with Jozo Simunovic and Stuart Armstrong, however all three are expected to be fit to take part in Germany. Bayern aren’t without their own issues, with the recent news that Javier Martinez is unlikely to take part mounting to their injury list which notably includes stalwarts such as Manuel Neuer and Franck Ribery. Arturo Vidal, Bayern's combative Chilean midfielder is also a serious doubt for the game due to muscle problems.
The Hoops will be encouraged by their convincing display in Brussels where they comfortably defeated Anderlecht 0-3 thanks to goals from Leigh Griffiths, Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair, however the Glasgow side will need to raise the level of performance to unseen territory if they are to manage a positive result in Germany.
Even in the disappointment of the 0-5 hammering to Paris Saint-German, this Celtic side has shown that under Brendan Rodgers, it can cause almost any team in Europe problems in defence and they will be hoping for a resolute performance in defence which can be matched by the pace of the likes of Scott Sinclair and Patrick Roberts on the counter.
Some have argued that Bayern are an ageing side in disarray, but the reality is that they are the current German champions with a squad full of battle hardened pros at the highest level, managed by a coach with countless honours to his name, including most notably 2013’s UEFA Champions League.
Rodgers will be looking for a performance to symbolise the strides his team have made at this level of football. Mainstream bookmakers have labelled Celtic’s chances of winning the game as 30/1, so hopefully another massive shock is on the cards and the Hoops can pull off another big Champions League result.