After returning to domestic duties on Saturday with a 1-0 over Dundee, Celtic face a sterner test tonight in Germany. The Hoops are in Munich to take on Bayern at the Allianz Arena on matchday 3 of the Champions League.
What sort of result can we expect from this match? How will Brendan Rodgers set up against such a high quality opponent?
I think in this competition you have to expect that virtually anything could happen. Because Celtic are one of those sides who have experienced the effects all across the Champions League spectrum.
From heavy defeats and unjust decisions, cheating opponents and howlers to sublime goals and the odd shock result. I’m not certain what kind of shape Bayern are in mentally after sacking Carlo Ancelotti, but you can be sure they’ve been well-drilled by Juup Heynckes.
If you think a team replacing their manager so early in the season spells disaster then you’d be wrong. Heynckes and Munich are a perfect fit.
This is the German coach’s fourth spell as manager with his last yielding a winning ratio of over 75% during a two-year spell at the club. In that time he also delivered four trophies: Bundesliga, German Cup, German Super Cup and er the Champions League.
Similar success followed the club after his third departure in the form of Pep Guardiola. Again, a win ratio of over 75% and seven trophies during a three-year reign is not to be sniffed at though no Champions League this time around.
Carlo Ancelotti would follow but he lasted little more than a year. His win ratio was 70% and he won both the Bundesliga and German Super Cup.
That wasn’t enough though and he was sacked after the 3-0 defeat to PSG on matchday 2 of the Champions League last month. Just goes to show you the expectations and standards at a club that breeds success.
How do Celtic deal with an opponent like that? Does Brendan have a game plan that can outfox an old fox other than his own wining percentage of over 75%?
Well the odds are against him, especially with Heynckes back in the fold. The restoration work on this team began convincingly at the weekend with a 5-0 drubbing of Freiburg.
Bayern have a brilliant squad with a mix of youth and experience. They will be galvanised by Heynckes return and prepared to get the Champions League bandwagon back on the road.
That’s bad timing and bad news for Celtic so they just have to go about their business. Not show them too much respect, but have a go at them.
Celtic also have a blend of youth and experience, but the players need to believe that on the night anything can happen. We know what happens when we are too cautious with teams like PSG and Barcelona – they walk over you.
I’m not saying it is time to go gung-ho and cavalier. We do need to play the game we’re used to playing though.
Celtic cannot contain a team of this stature. It’s impossible but we have seen what Celtic can do when they have a go, especially away from home.
So let’s play football. The Celtic way.