Predicted XI - How Celtic could line up against RB Leipzig in Champions League on Matchday 4
The Hoops will be without injured skipper Callum McGregor for their must-win clash against the German side.
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Celtic require a big performance and their first win of the group stages against RB Leipzig to keep their Champions League last-16 hopes alive.
The Scottish champions sit bottom of Group F after collecting just one point from their opening three matches with Ange Postecoglou’s side ruthlessly punished so far for a number of mistakes having looked defensively suspect at times.
However, the number of opportunities created in the competition to date will give Hoops fans plenty of encouragement ahead of a massive night at Parkhead.
Despite losing 3-1 to the Bundesliga outfit in Germany last week, Celtic will remain confident they can secure a vital three points with the backing of a capacity home crowd to haul themselves back into contention for a runners-up spot behind likely group winners Real Madrid.
The absence of skipper Callum McGregor is a significant blow, and Celtic will be praying that influential winger Jota is passed fit to play after sitting out of training yesterday due to a “muscle injury”.
Here, GlasgowWorld predicts how Celtic will line up against the Bundesliga outfit this evening:
Postecoglou felt his side were too defensive-minded after scoring the equaliser in the second half against Leipzig last week but is optimistic his players will not fall into that trap back on home soil tonight.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Australian said: “It’s not easy. It’s human nature, particularly with the group we have. They’re still experiencing something new.
“It’s only human nature that, playing away from home in a Champions League game and you’ve equalised, you feel like you are really in the game. You’ll tighten up a little bit and think: ‘Jeez, a point in Leipzig would be brilliant, we don’t want to give away this point’.
“’Instead of passing forward, maybe I’ll just hit the safe pass. Instead of making a run forward, maybe I’ll just sit here in case we lose the ball. So, that’s all the process. It’s just human nature.
“It’s about trying to show the players and get them to understand that’s not the way we’ve set up to play, it’s not going to help us in our endeavour to be successful. And if it does go wrong in doing what I want them to do then I’ll take responsibility.
“If you want to improve, if you want to get better, you’ve got to get out of that sort of insecurity you have about anything and be bold in your approach. That’s my view, anyway. It’s why I sign the players I have and put the team together the way I have because it’s designed to play this kind of football.
“If I had a dfferent approach and we were set up a bit more defensively structured, I’d have different players in there and we’d play a different way. So, it doesn’t suit us anyway.”
On the basis that Jota is named on the bench Celtic are likely to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation, as they did against St Johnstone on Saturday.
JOE HART: (GK) - Will keep his place between the sticks, despite a few unconvincing displays in recent games.
JOSIP JURANOVIC: (RB) - The Croatian has seemingly been kept fresh for this game after being an unused substitute in Perth.
CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS: (CB) - The USA international will continue to wear the captain’s armband in McGregor’s absence. His return from injury is a huge boost for the Hoops.
STEPHEN WELSH: (CB) - Reverted to left centre-half against St Johnstone due to Jenz falling ill and I suspect the youngster will stay there for this match.
GREG TAYLOR: (LB) - Had a well-earned rest at the weekend but will likely return to the side in favour of Alexandro Bernabei. Arguably the safer option.
MATT O’RILEY: (CM) - Has been asked to display a different side to his game in a slightly deeper role due to McGregor’s absence and performed well against St Johnstone.
REO HATATE: (CM) - The Japanese midfielder will be crucial to Celtic’s attacking play. Has really impressed at this level so far.
DAVID TURNBULL: (CAM) - Has found it difficult to nail down a regular starting spot this season but offers great composure on the ball and can added another attacking force.
DAIZEN MAEDA: (LW) - Should Jota fail to win his fitness battle, the versatile attacker is a strong candidate to fill in on the left flank and provide a creative spark.
GIORGOS GIAKOUMAKIS: (CF) - Saturday’s match-winning hero provided a much-needed physical presence as a second half substitute last week before netting a 95th minute strike at the weekend. Deserves to lead the line in place of the club’s current top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi.
SEAD HAKSABANOVIC: (RW) - Has really impressed since joining the club over the summer and will be tasked with tormenting the Leipzig defence from the right flank.
On the bench: Siegrist (GK), Jenz, Furuhashi, Abada, Jota, Mooy, McCarthy, Bernabei, Abildgaard, Forrest, Ralston