Celtic vs Bayern - Halloween Fright Night

Celtic vs Bayern – Halloween Fright Night

So, as some of you may recall, I posted a review of the Bayern vs Celtic  3-0 defeat game and it sparked what the hipsters call “a healthy and frank debate”, especially my 4/10 score for Brendan’s tactics. Rather than repeat that process for the return leg, I thought I would try posting before the actual game and try and highlight hopes and dreams and possible problems for the Hoops and see how it pans out after the event. Hindsight and all that.

So, tin hat on, here goes…

I think we will get beat 2-0.

There I said it, Its out there, I’ve pulled the Band-Aid right off. Let the pain out. Let the puss seep.

Ok, now that’s out of the way, lets discuss the how, whys and what-ifs that could see that happen or indeed, see me talking shite and the Hoops take the prize.

The reason for my negative prediction is purely common, financial and footballing sense.  As a wise man in the Appalachian Mountains once said “Everything is relative”.

Celtic are a small club in the modern Champions League. A Pot 4 club who have to negotiate multiple qualifiers to even get to that infamous draw. Its true, we really should just be happy to be there, but of course, we aren’t. We always want to do more, for we all know that we are a large club in terms of history and worldwide stature.  That however doesn’t take away the gulf between the current Elite of the CL and the Pot 4 hopefuls.

Bayern start each season with aspirations of winning the trophy, they purchase high level players with that intent. We purchase players to develop them and help us qualify for the CL itself. We are a work  in progress at the very early stages of  ‘Project Brendan’; Bayern are a European giant which rumbles along, and while it may have slightly faded recently, its still a Goliath compared to our Celtic David.

But then..we all know what happened in that match between Goliaths Philistines and Davids XI.

The door is big and very stiff but at least with the absence of Big Bob LewandowskI and Tam Muller up front, it might just be slightly ajar.

At the back, we will hope Gordon can get his distribution on target and bring his usual shot stopping skills. Lustig has been in goal scoring form so it would be nice to see him pop up at a back post but the big hope is he can nullify any threat down the right.  Brendan wouldn’t bring in Ralston or Gamboa again, surely not?

In the centre of defence, it is expected that Dedryk Boyata now could face a 19 years starlet Manuel Wintzheimer.  A good young player no doubt but he might just freeze compared to a world great like Lewandowski who would have taken tonight in his stride. We can only hope the atmosphere gets to any newbies in the Munich colours. Lest we forget of course,  on the wings we will still have Robben to fear of course as well as Kingsley Coman who did so well in the home leg,

Robben will also nullify our hopes that The Six Year Contract Man Tierney can get up the wings and supply some balls into Dembele. Hopefully he can escape from having to cover against the dangerous Robben, and slip away from Robbens excellent defensive cover work too, and get the supply and the assistance up at the Munich 18 yard box.

To help Tierney get free, hopefully one or more of the midfield can help cover the space left by his attacking potential. Dare Brendan go 3 at the back and hope that Broony can pull in cover when needed. With Jozo still injured, any 2 player pairing at the centre is still dodgy in all honesty at this level and maybe, just maybe, its worth giving 3 at the back a go and moving Tierney forward, after it all it worked so well against Aberdeen, but granted this is a different level of opposition altogether.

Up front we will need Dembele really in the mood to impress and impose. The young Frenchman has been touted for a full international call up so fingers crossed he can start this next stage of his football career by placing Hummels in his pocket and showing the rest of the world just how great a player he is destined to be. Again, its a massive step up from the Aberdeen game but his movement and presence in that game is exactly what we will need tonight from Moussa. If he doesn’t score, hopefully Moussa could at least tire them out so Griff can replace him on 70 mins and snatch the winner.

Forward talk brings us to Scott Sinclair. Well, if there is a game to really step up and grab a game by the throat, this would be a perfect one for one of our main men to do it in. Its been a quiet season so far really for Sinclair and hopefully he will be fresh enough to make his mark on this one and at least get himself up for the challenging games ahead over next few weeks.

Midfield however is where I think we will ultimately lose the game tonight. At present, its a work in progress after all, we aren’t at the level needed to concentrate and compete against the Elite. Broony is the only Celt for now who can play at that level and the rest are working towards it but have a long way to go. McGregor might be able to harry but I cant see Armstrong, Forrest or Rogic making much of an impact tackle wise.

My head tells me that the German side will move the ball and move off the ball, a lot better than us and despite our best efforts, we will fail to get close enough. That quick 2 yard burst will be more than enough for Bayern to surge forward and feed their forward line and ultimately seal the victory.

So I reckon 2-0 to the Germans but theres a squeak of a chance, if we can get the ball over to Dembele without isolating him 40 yards from our midfield and if Boyata and Broony can keep it tight at the back, the big dangers down the wings will need plenty of doubling up and really test our stamina…expect to see all 14 players used before 80 mins is on the clock.

Fingers crossed if we go toe-to-toe that the fans can help roar the team that extra half yard or that extra 2 mins of stoppage time to get through with a decent result, a point would likely secure Europa League after all so a 1-1 or 2-2 would be very much acceptable despite my 0-2 reservations.

Finally, lets enjoy another great night at Celtic Park, it may no longer be Fortress Parkhead but lets try and build it back up, brick by brick, shout by shout, song by song!