Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen vs Celtic

Verdict: Over 1.5 first-half goals

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Facing what could be a must-win showdown on Thursday evening, Celtic will make the trip out to Germany when they face off against Bayer Leverkusen for their penultimate Group G contest.

Bayer Leverkusen

Starting with the hosts, while Bayer Leverkusen might have struggled with their consistency of late, they would have at least been glad to pick up some momentum last weekend. Marking their return from the international break with a 1-0 win against Bochum on home soil, that was just the second victory that Gerardo Seoane’s men have collected from their last eight matchups across all formats. However, although the German outfit might have largely failed to build off of their stellar opening run, Die Werkself are sat in pole position to secure their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Europa League. Making it clear that they’re desperate to secure Champions League football for next season, Leverkusen open Thursday’s penultimate contest holding a three-point buffer at the top of Group G. Likewise, landing a thumping 4-0 win when they made the trip to Scotland for their reverse meeting back in September, Seoane’s side will be confident of finishing off the job here.

Team News

Dealing with a host of injury issues, Bayer Leverkusen will be without the likes of Patrick Schick, Charles Aranguiz, Mitchel Bakker, Julian Baumgartlinger and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Likewise, the duo of Lucas Alario and Karim Bellarabi also remains doubts on Thursday.

Celtic

As for the visitors, also managing to mark their return from November’s international break with a 1-0 win against St. Johnstone on home soil, the mood in Celtic’s camp should be at a real high. Although some around Glasgow might have been questioning the arrival of new boss Ange Postecoglou earlier in the year, the former Scottish champions have managed to find their feet. Along with being last seen on Europa League duties picking up an action-packed 3-2 win away at Ferencvaros, the Hoops are unbeaten in each of their last nine straight matchups across all formats, a run that stems back to September 30th. Winning eight of those nine outings and looking to cause an upset on foreign soil here, the former Melbourne Victory boss will be calling on attacking talisman Kyogo Furuhashi to spearhead their charge. Along with racking up seven Premiership goals since arriving in Glasgow, the Japan international has also recorded five Europa League goals in just his seven appearances.

Team News

Ange Postecoglou is likely to be selecting from an unchanged group of players for Thursday’s Europa League clash away in Germany.

Celtic reported no fresh injury concerns since last weekend’s Scottish League Cup semi-final win over St Johnstone.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides faced off in Glasgow on September 30th, Bayer Leverkusen picked up a 4-0 romp.
    • However, Thursday’s hosts have won just a pair of their last eight matchups across all formats.
    • Celtic are enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run across all formats, recording eight wins.
    • Striker Kyogo Furuhashi has five Europa League goals to his name so far.
    • Each of Celtic’s last three away fixtures have finished with over 3.5 goals.

    Conclusion

    Getting hit for four when they welcomed Leverkusen to Glasgow back in September, Celtic will be desperate to pick up some revenge on foreign soil. While the Hoops will know that they face a stern test against the Group G leaders, Thursday’s guests are in the midst of what has become a stellar purple patch. Winning eight of their last nine outings and unbeaten since that 4-0 drumming on home soil, we could be in for another lively affair in midweek. With each of Celtic’s last three away contests seeing over 3.5 goals by the final whistle, we’re backing a similar outcome at the BayArena.

    Verdict: Over 1.5 first-half goals

    Best Odds: 11/10

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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