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UEFA Europa League

  • 30 November 2011
  • • 18:00
  • • Celtic Park, Glasgow
  • Referee: E. Braamhaar
  • • Attendance: 33257

Celtic - Atletico Madrid Preview: A win would set Hoops up for tense final Europa League group stage match

Celtic - Atletico Madrid Preview: A win would set Hoops up for tense final Europa League group stage match


Neil Lennon’s men lost the reverse fixture against their Spanish opponents 2-0, but the in-form SPL side will be desperate for victory ahead of a troublesome game away to Udinese



Cha Du-Ri, Majstorovic, Loovens, Matthews Kayal, Wanyama, McCourt
Samaras, Stokes, Hooper


Perea, Miranda, Dominguez, Filipe
Mario Suarez, Gabi
Arda, Diego, Reyes

Celtic manager Neil Lennon will be wary of tinkering with a winning side too much for this crunch tie against the 2009-10 Europa League winners. His biggest decision will be which forwards to play and how to deploy them. Gary Hooper has been in fine goalscoring form, but he also has James Forrest, Georgios Samaras and Anthony Stokes at his disposal. Northern Ireland midfielder Paddy McCourt could come in for Joe Ledley on Wednesday night after making an appearance from the bench in their 5-0 thrashing of St Mirren over the weekend.

Atletico Madrid will likely start without their star striker Radamel Falcao, who strained the abductor muscle in his left leg on Colombian international duty. However, after missing out entirely in their La Liga tie with Real Madrid on Sunday, the former Porto forward could make an appearance off the bench is deemed fit to play. On the other hand, Tiago Mendes, Eduardo Silvio and captain Antonio Lopez are definitely ruled out of the match at Celtic Park. Manager, Gregorio Manzano, will be aware of the larger threat the SPL side pose at their home ground despite beating them in Spain. Teenage goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, on loan from Chelsea, could be dropped by the former Sevilla boss having been red carded in Sunday's game with Jose Mourinho's men, which would see 22-year-old shot-stopper Sergio Asenjo given a chance between the sticks.

  • Atletico Madrid won the reverse tie in September 2-0. It was the first game of the group stage for both sides, with the Hoops not having lost in the tournament since.
  • Celtic sit third in Group I with five points, below Wednesday’s Spanish opposition and Italian club Udinese, who both have seven points from four games.
  • The La Liga club lost on Sunday 4-1 to their local rivals Real Madrid. Atletico took a surprise lead through Adrian but were eventually swept aside by Jose Mourinho’s team.
  • SPL striker Gary Hooper (pictured right) has scored six times in the last five games for the Glaswegian club.
  • The Spanish side, currently lying 11th in La Liga, beat Premier League club Fulham to take the 2009-10 Europa League crown.
  • Celtic are on a run of five straight victories in all competitions. However, they have only collected one win in Europe this campaign, which came in their last match at home to France club Rennes.
  • Atletico Madrid have the 19th worst away record in the Spanish top flight this season – they have won none, drawn one and lost five on their travels.
  • The last time the Hoops lost was three days after their defeat against Manzano’s side, on September 18 against bitter rivals Rangers.
  • In the Europa League, both clubs have an identical away record having both lost 2-0 and drawn 1-1 respectively.
Visit our Euro 2012 microsite for all you need to know ahead of Friday's draw and beyond - team profiles, stadium guides, even which hotels are best to stay in!

Players to watch

G. Samaras

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

The Greek striker was credited by manager Neil Lennon as the catalyst for last weekend’s 5-0 win over St Mirren and he will be expected to provide inspiration once more. The 25-year-old former Manchester City player had two assists in the SPL side’s last Europa League game at home to Rennes.

José Antonio Reyes

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

Arsenal fans will remember the Spanish player who left the Gunners for the Vicente Calderon. He was not an immediate success but he has become a regular for Atletico Madrid and will be essential if they are to succeed at Celtic Park without some of their most talented and influential players. Available to play either on the left flank or as a direct forward, the 28-year-old’s experience in the British Isles could prove invaluable for Manzano’s squad.

Editor's Prediction

This game will be decisive for Celtic’s continental hopes. If Lennon’s men succumb to defeat their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage are all but gone, and a draw would be equally damning. The Scottish side are in fine form but, on the other hand, with only one scalp in Europe this season it would be foolish to immediately condemn the Spanish side to a loss. However, Atletico Madrid’s appalling away form has to be taken into consideration and – if Stokes, Samaras and Hooper perform as they have in recent games – then Celtic Park could be looking at a memorable victory.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Atlético Madrid


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Celtic FC CEL
Celtic FC Celtic
Club Atlético de Madrid ATM
Club Atlético de Madrid Atlético Madrid

Top 3 Predictions

Celtic FC CEL
2 - 1
Club Atlético de Madrid ATM
Celtic FC CEL
1 - 2
Club Atlético de Madrid ATM
Celtic FC CEL
1 - 0
Club Atlético de Madrid ATM