Bayer Leverkusen vs Celtic: Europa League preview, team news, stats, kick-off
Team news and stats ahead of Bayer Leverkusen vs Celtic in the Europa League group stage on Thursday; kick-off 5.45pm.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is likely to be selecting from an unchanged group of players for Thursday’s Europa League clash away at Bayer Leverkusen.
The Hoops boss reported no fresh injury concerns since last Saturday’s Scottish League Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone.
Postecoglou explained Tom Rogic and Carl Starfelt are close to a return but will not feature in Germany, while Giorgos Giakoumakis is still struggling with a knee problem.
Postecoglou has no plan to be conservative.
He said: “We’ll only learn from the game if we play our football. You’ll learn absolutely nothing if you go out there and shy away from it.
“We can go and be conservative, try and hold on, try and survive, but if we do that we’ll learn nothing. All you learn is that you’re inferior and you don’t believe you can be any better.
“The only way we’ll learn anything in this game is if we go out there and take the game to them. That may be a painful lesson for us all but ultimately it’s a better way for us to find out.
“It may not be a painful lesson, it may show that we’re making a hell of a lot of progress. I’d rather go there and find out about ourselves than just go there and try to survive.”
Celtic trail leaders Bayer Leverkusen by four points with two games remaining, but a win in Germany will put them in a strong position to advance via the play-offs at least. Their final group match is at home to Real Betis.
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- This is only the second European meeting between Bayer Leverkusen and Celtic, with the Germans winning 4-0 on MD2 of this season’s UEFA Europa League.
- Celtic have lost six of their seven away matches in Germany in the UEFA Cup/Europa League (D1), losing most recently in October 2018 against RB Leipzig.
- Bayer Leverkusen have never lost a home UEFA Europa League group stage match in 14 previous games (W11 D3) – the most of any side without losing in the competition’s history.
- No team has forced more high turnovers in the UEFA Europa League this season than Celtic (47), with 10 of those ending in a shot, the most of any team.
- Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby has carried the ball up-field 575m in the UEFA Europa League this season, more than any other non-defender. No player has more assists following a ball carry than Diaby (2).
Round of 16: March 10 & 17 2022
Quarter-finals: April 7 & 14 2022
Semi-finals: April 28 & May 5 2022
Final: May 18 2022 (Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Seville)