Celtic head to Rotterdam next week to kick-off their 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stages campaign. Drawn in Group E with Feyenoord, Lazio and Atletico Madrid, the Hoops have managed to get a group that offers a glimmer of hope that they can reach the knockout rounds of Europe’s elite competition.
All the games are hard at that level, but in all honesty, Feyenoord from Pot 1 was a real coup for the club to get and both Lazio and Atletico Madrid are certainly not Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain. With a slice of luck, the Bhoys could manage to sneak out of the group, but more likely we will be slogging it out with the Dutch Eredivisie champions for that third spot and entry into the Europa League knockout rounds.
It is being reported that ahead of our opening match in Rotterdam that Arne Slot is facing somewhat of an attacking crisis before the visit of Brendan Rodgers and his team. Daily Record have revealed that Slot may well be without Japanese international, Ayase Ueda, as he injured himself in Japan’s 4-1 victory over Germany recently.
The 25-year-old is now considered a serious doubt for the clash with the Scottish Premiership Champions and with first choice striker, Santiago Gimenez, also missing through suspension, it leaves only Calvin Stengs to carry the burden of leading the team if Ueda doesn’t recover in time. It would be a massive blow for Slot who would no doubt have viewed this upcoming match against the Hoops as crucial for his team.
Meanwhile, there is other injuries to his defensive departments, as goalkeeper, Justin Bijlow is sidelined with a broken wrist at the minute, whilst Dutch international defender, Lutsharel Geertruida also missed this latest round of international fixtures which means he too could be a major doubt for Group E’s opening games.