RB Leipzig v Celtic: “It’s going to be a fantastic challenge for us as a football club,” Ange Postecoglou

After watching that match at Anfield last night and then looking at that group table after all sides have played each other, it it clear that at no stage other than a very short spell in their game against Napoli, has theRangers been able to compete at Champions League level. They have zero points, have yet to score and it’s hard to see where they are going to get any joy playing the way they do.

And the Napoli result in Amsterdam maybe suggests that Ajax were there for the taking after all yet the latest Ibrox club were awful in that match, losing 4-0, the same scoreline that Celtic recorded against them a few days earlier. Remember, this is a team that prided itself on its competence in European football, playing at Europa League level and even reaching the final last season before losing to Eintracht Frankfurt.

That’s why we should be grateful for the sytle of football that Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side is bringing to the Champions League. Other than in the closing stages of the opening match, and that was against the current European Champions, Celtic have competed and looked more than capable at this level, with the only thing missing being a ruthlessness in front of goal.

Liel Abada, Callum McGregor and Daizen Maeda (in particular) could have given Celtic the lead against Real Madrid and in Warsaw, Shakhtar Donetsk had to resort to a backs against the wall defensive plan to keep Celtic out in a match that the Ukrainian Champions were absolutely delighted to get a point.

Tonight, as the RB Leipzig manager Marco Rose outlined yesterday, there will be no chance of Celtic parking the bus against his side, as theRangers have attempted to do in Amsterdam and at Anfield, without any success.

Instead Celtic will take the game to the Bundeliga opposition and see how it all pans out. With both Cameron-Carter Vickers and Carl Starfelt missing the Celtic defence is undoubtedly weakened and Marco Rose will be well aware of the opportunities that will provide for his side. On the other hand an attack-minded opposition will allow plenty of space for Celtic to exploit the pace of the likes of Kyogo and Maeda, and after their shock, and rather freakish defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, they could be just as vunerable at the back.

Moritz Jenz and Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo ( fights for the ball with during the UEFA Champions Leaguel match between Celtic and Real Madrid, at the Celtic Park on September 6, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Celtic will get chances, if we fail to take the majority of them this evening it could be a frustrating, disappointing night, however with the additional of some ruthlessness in front of goal it could be a memorable evening in Leipzig.

Even under Brendan Rodgers, Celtic failed to make the grade as a Champions League team and it appeared that that ship had sailed as far as we were concerned. That is the boat that theRangers find themselves in this morning. Thanks to Ange Postecoglou and his fearless style of attacking football Celtic are able to compete. Now we need a win.

 Ange Postecoglou attends a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Champions League day 3 Group F match between RB Leipzig and Celtic FC, at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig on October 4, 2022.  (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

Here’s some of what Ange himself was saying at last night’s pre-match Media Conference in Leipzig…

“Every game is a challenge,” the Celtic manager stated. “That’s the nature of the competition and every team you play is a top-quality side so you know that, irrespective of what’s happened before or what games you’ve got ahead, the next task is to take on the challenge that’s before you.

“Leipzig are a top-quality team and here at home it’s going to be a fantastic challenge for us as a football club, and we just need to keep performing at the levels we know we can.

“From our perspective, it’s about what we do. We know the challenge that’s there tomorrow. They are a very good side. I think since Marco Rose has gone in a few weeks ago, they’re getting a better understanding and the result at the weekend was excellent and they’ve got some fantastic players.

“If you look at their recent form, they’re definitely a goal threat and they’ve got both individual players, but the manner in which they play, they’re an aggressive side as well, and we kind of know what to expect.

“It is going to be a big challenge for us because we’re also a team that wants to be aggressive and tries to be aggressive.

Kyogo Furuhashi applauds at the end the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Celtic and Real Madrid, at the Celtic Park on September 6, 2022. – Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images.

“When two teams have a similar mindset in terms of how they want to approach the game it turns into a real challenger, so we’re mindful of the quality they have and the threats they have, but the flipside of that is that we want to bring our own qualities to the game, and make sure the opportunities that exist out there, we take them.

“We’re just concerned with our own performance and making sure that we play our football and give them a good test. It’s just a case of keep performing at this level and if you keep performing, then you give yourself a chance to win games of football.

ead Hakšabanović of Celtic shoots at goal during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Celtic FC and Real Madrid at Celtic Park on September 06, 2022  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Our first two games have been pretty good from a performance perspective. We felt that in the first game we did well for about an hour but then we did fall away. In the second game, our performance was strong and it was a game that we could have won, but it’s not just about performance. It’s about the opposition as well, so we’ll just prepare ourselves to play well and we’ll see what that brings us.

“This is Champions League football and you don’t just make progress overnight. It’s stuff you build on.

“Like I said, we played very well against Shahktar and we had to because they’re a very good team, as they showed, particularly against Leipzig here, but we’re under no illusions that tomorrow is going to be another massive challenge for us.”


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

1 Comment

  1. They’ll play a counter attacking system against us in the hope of catching us short at the back