Following on from todays 3rd qualifying round champions league draw which saw the winners of Celtic vs Kalju playing one of Maccabi Tel Aviv or CFR Cluj, its time to look onto Wednesday game were we face Estonian side Nomme Kalju.
Who are Nomme Kalju?
Nõmme Kalju football club was founded in 1923 as a division of the Kalju Sports Club by two professional wrestlers, Aleksander Šneider and Mart Liiv, they are the current Estonian champions and have never been relegated from the Estonian top division. Despite the excellent record of not being relegated they have only won the league title twice, with the first time being as recent as 2012, with that being said they were rebranded in 1997 and have only being playing in the top division since then. They play at the Hiiu stadium which holds a mere 650 people, thankfully the game has been moved for the away leg!
Players to watch out for
The vast majority of Kalju's squad is Estonian with a few of them being Estonian internationals, their best player however is a Brazilian who goes by the name of Liliu, the striker has scored a brilliant 48 goals in 53 games and is a player who could cause us issues if we don't pay Kalju respect. Another key player for the Estonian side is Maximiliano Ugge there captain who is from Italy, Ugge came through the Inter Milan academy and was capped at Italy U20 level, Kalju will be looking for him to help keep out our front line.
How are they doing this season?
While Kalju have only lost twice so far this season they are now 12 points behind the top spot and look unlikely to regain there title.
Celtic come into the game with no new injury worries, it would be good to see Jullian get some game time at the back while this match will probably come too soon for Bayo & Shved but hopefully we will see them in the return leg. We obviously come into the tie as massive favourites but need to pay our Estonian opponents every ounce of respect, we were beaten by a poorer team in Lincoln Red Imps back in 2016 so it is vital we win and win well in the first leg. It would also be great to see us potentially play Leigh Griff and Odsonne Edouard up front together in a game which should hopefully see us get plenty of chances, however to start with at least it will likely be a 4-3-3 formation.
The game kicks off at 19;45 and will be live on the non bias and excellent channel of Celtic Tv!