Verdict: Home Win
Best Odds: 13/10
Having cruised through to the third Champions League qualifying round after a thumping victory over Linfield, Scottish champions Celtic will now lock horns with Norwegian powerhouse Rosenborg in what is one of the highlight matches of the midweek.
Brendan Rodgers has been hailed for his remarkable work in Glasgow. Former Liverpool manager has done wonders at Celtic Park by solidifying the Scottish heavyweights’ position on the domestic front. The Celts went through the entire 2016/17 season without a single defeat in the Scottish Premiership which is a feat for itself, although their European exploits have not shared the same fortune. Having been pushed to the rock bottom of their Champions League group stage, The Bhoys are now determined to leave a bigger footprint at the international stage. The 6-0 aggregate victory over Linfield was a clear message of intent from Brendan Rodgers’ men who are feeling rather optimistic over their chances of making it into the showpiece tournament. Rodgers will be happy with the fact most of his key men have remained in the club and will most certainly hope that Celtic will be able to keep hold on their biggest star Moussa Dembele who has been heavily linked with a move away from the club.
Summer recruit Olivier Nitcham could be given a role against Rosenborg, whereas Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic are expected to continue their fine form displayed in the previous qualifying round.
Brendan Rodgers will be without defender Emilio Izaguirre who last week joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Fayha.
The 24-time Norwegian champions Rosenborg will travel to Scotland hoping to ditch the underdog tag and put up a fight worthy of their more celebrated past when this club rubbed shoulders with the likes of Spain, England, Germany and Italy’s finest. As a club of great history and heritage, Rosenborg have seen their international influence wither over the past years and decades which has made their route to the brightest scene more protracted every year. The European struggles for the Norwegian champions were best visible in last round’s double-legged tie against Dundalk when Rosenborg were hanging by a thread, eventually going through after extra time. Their most recent struggles made the trip over to Scotland that much more difficult and it is fair to say Rosenborg face a daunting challenge against a highly motivated rival. Norwegians are expected to sit back and break on the counterattacks, in a 4-5-1 strategy, which could come back to haunt them in the end.
Norwegian powerhouse will no major selection issues ahead of the first leg in Glasgow.
The Norway midfielder Magnus Stamnestro has been having some knee problems and could miss out on the trip to Scotland.
Key Factors to Consider
- Celtic kept a clean sheet in 4 of their last 5 matches
- Scottish champions went undefeated for the entire season
- It’s been 10 years since Rosenborg last took part in UCL group stage
- The two sides last met 16 years ago in the Champions League
- Rosenborg Are unbeaten in their last six matches across competitions
Celtic are welcoming Rosenborg on the back of a successful Champions League qualifying stint which saw them cruise over Linfield and there is no doubt Brendan Rodgers’ men will be highly motivated to build a strong foundation ahead of the return leg in Norway. A home win is expected.
Verdict: Home Win
Best Odds: 13/10
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