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UEFA Champions League

  • 7 November 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Celtic Park, Glasgow
  • Referee: B. Kuipers
  • • Attendance: 58841

Celtic - Barcelona Preview: Lennon's men aim to bounce back from Camp Nou heartbreak

The Bhoys were within minutes of securing a heroic Champions League point in Spain before being denied by full-back Jordi Alba's last-gasp winner for the hosts on Matchday 3



Lustig, Wilson, Ambrose, Mulgrew
Commons, Brown, Wanyama, Ledley
Hooper, Samaras


Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba
Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi
Pedro, Messi, Villa

Neil Lennon is expected to name largely the same line-up 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 centre-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).

  • Celtic created unwanted history in their 2-1 defeat to Barcelona last time out; having the least amount of possession in Champions League history (10 per cent).
  • Bhoys forward Miku learned his trade in Valencia's youth system, where both David Villa and Jordi Alba developed their skills.
  • Lennon's men have scored four goals from 11 shots on target in the Champions League group stages this season.
  • Barca have won all three of their group games so far, while their opponents have won one, lost one and drawn one.
  • Vilanova can lead his team to qualification with a positive result on Wednesday night, as they lead 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%.

Players to watch

G. Hooper

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Though Celtic are at home it's fair to assume that they will again see little of the ball, therefore what they do with it is vital to securing any kind of result.

The whole team will have to put a huge shift in to try and keep Barca at bay, but the 24-year-old will be key in holding up the ball and trying to link the deep midfield to attack without becoming isolated.


Position: Defender

Games: 4

  • 0
  • 2
  • 1
Having just returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the 25-year-old could well be a target for Lennon's men, and especially powerful forward Samaras.

The return of the former Manchester United man will certainly boost the Spaniards' defence, though he will face a physical challenge from the Greek striker.

Editor's Prediction

Celtic came so near to securing a hard-fought point in Spain, however, it is hard to see them running Tito Vilanova's men as close again. They may have home advantage this time around, but the La Liga outfit will not want to be embarrassed once more, and should come out on top.

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Reader's Predictions

Celtic FC CEL
Celtic FC Celtic
FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona

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Celtic FC CEL
1 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
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FC Barcelona FCB