Real Betis face a tough test in their opening Group G match as they welcome Celtic to Estadio Benito Villamarin in 2021-22 UEFA Europa League.
Victory for either team could put them top of Group G if they can better the result of Bayer Leverkusen’s clash against Ferencvaros.
Marc Bartra is ruled out for Real Betis with a muscle injury suffered in Monday evening’s draw at Granada.
Diego Lainez (ankle) and Youssouf Sabaly (muscle) are also absent.
Celtic could welcome Anthony Ralston back after the right-back recovered from a knock which kept him out of recent matches.
Greg Taylor (knock), James Forrest (knock), Mikey Johnston (hamstring), Karamoko Dembele (ankle), Christopher Julien, Kyogo Furuhashi (both knee) and Liel Abada (personal) are sidelined.
- This is Real Betis’ first-ever meeting against Celtic in all UEFA competitions.
- Real Betis are facing Scottish opposition for the very first time across all UEFA competitions, although they are winless in three previous away trips to teams within Great Britain (D1, L2).
- Celtic have lost each of their last five away trips to Spanish opposition (L5), scoring twice and conceding 18 goals across all five away clashes.
- Two of Betis’ four goals in all competitions this season have been scored by Juanmi.
- Three of Celtic’s ten Europa League goals in Qualifying came from Kyogo Furuhashi.
Real Betis are embarking on another European campaign after a two-season absence but will be under the experienced Manuel Pellegrini with a pressing 4-4-2 formation, which should give them a decent chance if Celtic are off form given their injury list.
Celtic meanwhile are currently in poor away form with four defeats from five away matches in all competitions, despite scoring in three of those four losses so this could well be a very difficult encounter if consider form and injuries together.
Both teams though have leaky defences although Celtic’s isn’t as bad overall purely down to their home performances, so this could be an interesting encounter which feels like it has a draw written all over it otherwise Celtic could have the edge.
Prediction: Real Betis 1-1 Celtic
Result: Real Betis 4-3 Celtic