Moritz Bauer joined Celtic on a season long loan deal from Stoke City with the intention of using his time in Scotland to force his way back into the Austrian national side heading for Euro 2020 this summer.
Now though the Swiss born Austrian international right back has admitted that it’s a young Dutchman – Jeremie Frimpong – who has probably put paid to his international re-call ambitions, for now at least.
Bauer played at the weekend in Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Clyde but for most of this season he’s had to play second fiddle to first Elhamed – before his injury in Rome in the 2-1 win over Lazio ruled him out for several months, he’s only just returned to training this week – and Frimpong who is also out injured after Alan Power’s lunge down a Kilmarnock a few weeks ago. He too is due back on the training ground this week, probably tomorrow.
Bauer has managed just six starts, coupled with numerous appearances from the bench, and he reckons that that’s nowhere near enough for him to fulfil his International ambitions.
He’s not been helped either by Celtic manager Neil Lennon moving away from the 4-2-3-1 formation that has been a mainstay for a number of very successful seasons at Celtic, to revert to the old 3-5-2 of the Martin O’Neill era, a system Lennon himself played in to great effect.
That though means wing-backs and the more defensively minded Bauer seems more comfortably playing as a right back in a back four.
“My initial aim was to play around 50 competitive games, but it will be significantly less because the club is pushing a young talent (Frimpong) in my full-back position,” Bauer explained to the Media, as reported by Scottish Sun.
“It has not been a bad season for me, but also not satisfactory either.
“It is clear to me that I am not holding the best hand to get into the Austria squad for the Euro 2020 Finals and that time is not on my side.”
Bauer though is loving every minute of his time at Celtic, and he has a few more months to convince Lennon that he’s worthy of a permanent deal with the Hoops – Celtic do have an option to buy already agreed with Stoke City for the 28 year old.
And Bauer certainly is talking as if he plans to stay around – if he possibly can – longer than the end of this season. He has his eyes set firmly on Ten-in-a-Row.
“We are determined to win the next two titles which would make it Ten-in-a-Row and that would be special because it’s never been done before.
“The home games at Celtic Park are special. I would compare the atmosphere to Anfield, only it is even bigger here with 60,000 fans.”
Bauer looks a decent enough player, although he probably needs to recognise that Celtic are an attacking side and sometimes he should think about throwing caution to the wind and being more direct and forward thinking in his forward play.
He started to do this in the Clyde game and that’s probably the best we’ve seen of him so far, even in those very difficult conditions.
Tonight you’d expect he’ll be back on the bench, and tomorrow Jeremie Frimpong will be back and pushing to get back in the team. His problem is going to be James Forrest who is doing that right wing-back role in the 3-5-2 at the moment.
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