Celtic welcome Bayer Leverkusen to Celtic Park in Group G of 2021-22 UEFA Europa League Group Stage.
Victory could see Celtic go top of Group G if Real Betis lose at Ferencvaros, Hungary, whereas Leverkusen themselves can go top if Real Betis slip up elsewhere.
Callum McGregor is ruled out for Celtic with a hamstring injury which forced him to sit out the Hoops’ last four matches.
Georgios Giakoumakis is a doubt with a calf injury but Greg Taylor (shoulder), James Forrest (knock), Mikey Johnston (hamstring), Karamoko Dembele (ankle), Christopher Julien and Kyogo Furuhashi (both knee) remain ruled out.
Leverkusen have no fresh injury concerns to report as Odilon Kossounou (muscle), Edmond Tapsoba, Exequiel Palacios (both ankle), Julian Baumgartlinger, Timothy Fosu-Mensah (both knee) and Niklas Lomb (finger) remain absent.
- This is Celtic’s first-ever meeting against Bayer Leverkusen in all UEFA competitions.
- Celtic have avoided three of their last five home matches against Germ opposition across all UEFA competitions (W2, D1, L2).
- Leverkusen have lost just one of four previous meetings against Scottish opposition in all UEFA competitions (W2, D1, L1), although they’re unbeaten in two trips to Scotland (W1, D1).
- Celtic have scored first in their last four home matches in all UEFA competitions (W3, D1).
- Leverkusen haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last seven away European matches (W4, L3).
With their injury crisis, Celtic’s form has definitely dipped with just two wins since the international break but one positive has to be that the Hoops are still unbeaten at home this month, so I do expect them to come out fighting like they did at Real Betis a fortnight ago but defending will be crucial here.
Leverkusen meanwhile will be a team that Celtic’s defence will be wary of given their 4-3-3 attacking formation, and the emergence of Florian Wirtz as a huge threat in midfield behind Patrik Schick will likely be their biggest worry although Leverkusen have kept just two clean sheets this season.
On that note, I do foresee a difficult encounter but Bayer Leverkusen’s attack should just have enough to take the win here, especially given Celtic’s injury crisis which has hurt their form coming into this match.
Prediction: Celtic 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Result: Celtic 0-4 Bayer Leverkusen