Champions League Preview: Celtic - Barcelona
The Bhoys were within minutes of securing a heroic Champions League point in Spain before being denied by fullback Jordi Alba's last-gasp winner for the hosts on Matchday 3.
By John Stammers
Lustig, Wilson, Ambrose, Mulgrew
Commons, Brown, Wanyama, Ledley
Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba
Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi
Pedro, Messi, Villa
Neil Lennon is expected to name largely the same lineup that impressed in Spain in the first meeting between the two sides, where a late Jordi Alba goal denied the Scottish side a famous point.
Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras are likely to keep their places after producing fine displays against the La Liga outfit, though the latter missed the Hoops' last league outing.
Kris Commons, who netted a hat trick in that win over St Johnstone, may win a place against the European giants, with Charlie Mulgrew also in amongst the manager's options, particularly after Emilio Izaguirre suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out for up to six weeks.
Tito Vilanova will have center back Gerard Pique back in contention for the clash at Celtic Park, the Spaniard having been sidelined with a foot problem since the win over Spartak Moscow, meaning Alex Song may miss out.
Alexis Sanchez is set to return after missing the league win over Celta Vigo, while Adriano will undergo a late fitness test but is likely to miss out with Dani Alves returning.
Elsewhere striker David Villa could continue his recovery from a leg fracture in the starting XI but the Blaugrana remain without Sergio Busquets (suspension) and Carles Puyol (elbow).
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Celtic created unwanted history in its 2-1 defeat to Barcelona last time out, having the least amount of possession in Champions League history (10 percent).
- Bhoys forward Miku learned his trade in Valencia's youth system, where both David Villa and Jordi Alba developed their skills.
- Georgios Samaras (right) has now netted in the SPL outfit's last four away games in Europe (Helsinki, Helsingborgs, Spartak and Barcelona).
- Lennon's men have scored four goals from 11 shots on target in the Champions League group stages this season.
- Barca has won all three of its group games so far, while its opponent has won one, lost one and drawn one.
- Vilanova can lead his team to qualification with a positive result on Wednesday night, as it leads the second-placed Hoops by five points.
- Lionel Messi became a father for the first time when his girlfriend gave birth to baby boy Thiago on Friday. The Argentine played the match against Celta Vigo on Saturday with a child's dummy in his sock - though it remained there as he failed to score.
- The Catalans have made 2622 passes in the three games that they have played in the competition so far - completing 2283 at a tournament-high 87 percent.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to $100 CAD|
Top 3 Predictions
Celtic 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 21.83 %
Celtic 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 13.8 %
Celtic 0-2 FC Barcelona
- 8.41 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2013-12-11||FC Barcelona 6 - Celtic 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2013-10-01||Celtic 0 - FC Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2012-11-07||Celtic 2 - FC Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2012-10-23||FC Barcelona 2 - Celtic 1|
|2013-12-11||FC Barcelona 6 - Celtic 1||UCL|
|2013-11-26||Celtic 0 - Milan 3||UCL|
|2013-11-06||Ajax 1 - Celtic 0||UCL|
|2013-10-22||Celtic 2 - Ajax 1||UCL|
|2013-10-01||Celtic 0 - FC Barcelona 1||UCL|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|