Celtic Vs FK Sarajevo - Champions League first round draw
The first leg (A) is scheduled for Tuesday/Wednesday, July 9/10 with the return leg (H) a week later on Tuesday/Wednesday, July 16/17.
Celtic have drawn Bosnian champions FK Sarajevo in the first round of qualifying for the Champions
League. It will be the first of four potential qualifying rounds for the Hoops as they look to return to the champions league after missing out last season.
Who are FK Sarajevo?
They were formed in 1946 following a merger between two clubs Sloboda and Udarnik, before the Bosnian league was formed they played in the Yugoslav league winning it twice. Since the formation of the Bosnian league they have won 4 league titles and been runners up 6 times, they have also won the Bosnian cup 6 times the last also being last season. They play at the Asim Ferhatovic stadium (named after their legendary striker) which holds a very impressive 34,500 people.
FK Sarajevo are of course the current Bosnian Champions and are managed by former player and club legend Husref Musemic who is now in his 5th spell of managing the club, he also played for hearts in the 90's, interestingly his brother Vahidin is also a club legend. Sarajevo won the league by 5 points last season and had an excellent goal difference with 3 of there players finishing in the top 5 league goal scorers.
They share a very big rivalry with FK Željezničar which is better known as the Sarajevo derby (well worth looking into), Željezničar have won the derby 35 times, Sarajevo have won 34 times, while 49 matches ended in a draw with goal difference 134:130 in FK Sarajevo's favour, it is a game which has great history and meaning with both sets of supporters often creating amazing tifos and noise at matches.
Sarajevo's fans are called Horde Zla, meaning Hordes of Evil or Evil Gang, while the name is menacing they are unlikely to cause any issue with our travelling support and are welcoming of foreign supporters. It is also worth noting that Celtic are also favourably looked upon by their support because they have a large Muslim following, who like many respect and appreciate our support for Palestine.
Previous European results
Sarajevo have lost their last 5 Champions league qualifying matches (going back to 2007) without even scoring a goal, hopefully this continues when they face us. Last season they were well praised for earning a 2-2 draw away to Atlanta in Europa league qualifying, they did go onto lose 8-0 in the return leg however. The best they have done in both competitions is reach the last 16 but this is stretching back many many years, they are yet to reach the group stages of either European competitions since the reforming of them.
Sarajevo's best player is 6 foot 3 striker Mersudin Ahmetovic, the Bosnian international is seen as the best striker in the Bosnian league and has 38 goals in 83 league appearances for the club. Other players to keep an eye out for are attacking midfielder Amar Rahmanovic, goalkeeper Vladan Kovacevic and midfielder Benjamin Tatar who has 11 goals in 31 league games.
Best places to visit in Sarajevo?
"The best option is to download application on play store called 'Sarajevo Navigator',upon installation you can choose English language. There is all you need to know and find in the City. But let me tell you few info...The best place for your fans is obviously Celtic Pub in the centre of the City, wide selection of alcoholic drinks and interior dominated by the symbols of Celtic ...In the Centre of the City you will find a lot of restaurants, caffe bars, pubs, and eateries, you just must first check which one serve/do not serve alcohol (not all of them serves alcohol), but you have plenty of them with alcohol...My suggestion is restaurant called 'Pod lipom' - great food and alcohol drinks..There are o lot of eateries called 'cevabdzinica' which offers our national food - 'Cevapcici', litlle peaces of meet - strongly advise to try it...
So: - Celtic pub, restaurant 'Pod lipom', Pub 'Hacienda', Pub 'Vucko' restaurant 'Amerikanac' are one of the best places in the centre with alcohol.
Main street's name is 'Ferhadija' and main square is 'Bascarsija'. That's your target prior the match.."
That comes from the horses mouth, thanks Almir for the recommendations! There will of course be other nice places to visit for those that make the trip over!
To Sarajevo fans it seems getting anything from this tie would be an absolute miracle. Obviously we shouldn't be going into the game underestimating them at all but Celtic are clear strong favourites. Out of possession Sarajevo like to play a 451 and will look to condense space between the lines and make it hard for Celtic to penetrate them, attacking wise they are likely to break in a 4-3-3 and get balls into the box for Ahmetovic. For Celtic it will just be about winning and winning well, at home we should be looking for a heavy scoreline in our favour to give our fans something to cheer about, obviously in Bosnia you never no what could happen but again we should look to win well. Hopefully by the time the game comes around we will have a few new faces in and ready to make there Celtic debuts!
Thanks to @Almir Sarajevo @maroon & @AstonHz for their insights into Sarajevo! Maroon also says he's open to meet any of you'se for a pint if you go over and i'm they'll all be happy to answer questions!
The winners of this tie will face either Nomme Kalju of Estonia or Shkendija of Macedonia.