Celtic v Red Bull Leipzig: Etims Preview

Celtic v Red Bull Leipzig: Etims Preview

Uralius looks back at the first Leipzig game, and previews this weeks return match..

As always I make up evidence, have none or am just completely uninformed. I enjoy being a complete loudmouth and will share all of my opinions whether you like it or not.
So Leipzig have come calling….
What happened last time out?
Well if you read the opinions of all of those who are more experienced and far better informed than me, you might think that this defensive player was at fault or that midfielder, but that’s all a load of tripe!
I’ve heard that they had a weakened team and even with our couple of injuries we should’ve easily beaten this team (with no history) made up of multiple internationals from a squad worth £248m.
Here is something I wrote in the aftermath of the Leipzig game….

I have heard an awful lot of complaining that they rested players and we played against their B team, but then I decided to actually do some research. I figured “we have to play them again so it won’t be a complete waste of time.” Here is my research of the 11 players that started for Leipzig.
Yvon Mvogo – 124 appearances for Bern Young Boys from 2013 until 2017. Travelled with Swiss International team for the 2018 World Cup.
L. Klostermann – 72 Appearances for Leipzig and has represented Germany at U17, 19, 21 levels and was a silver medal winner in the 2016 Olympics.
Willi Orban – 68 appearances for FC Kaiserslautern (FCK or ‘Lautern) between 2011 and 2015 and 73 appearances for Leipzig since. Has represented Hungary on 2 occasions this year.
Dayot Upamecano – Cost Leipzig €10M Jan 2017 from Salzburg. Represented France at every level except the senior team playing for the U21s while still eligible for U18 and U19s. Personal achievements include: 3rd 2014 Aegean Cup (France U16) named the competition’s best defender. 2015 UEFA EURO U17 champion, named in the team of the tournament. Shortlisted for the 2018 Golden Boy award. 
Marcelo Saracchi – Bought from River Plate 1 July 2018 for € 13.5M he played 19 games lifted the Copa Argentina and the Super Copa with River Plate and won the Sudamericano @ U20 level with Uruguay in 2017. 2 Senior Caps.
Marcel Sabitzer – Made a total of 90 appearances with Moedling and Rapid Wien in the Austrian Bundesliga between 2010 and 2014 before moving to Leipzig on a free. He was immediately loaned to RB Salzburg where he won the Austrian Bundesliga and lifted the Austrian Cup he currently has 29 senior international appearances for Austria having represented them at every youth level.
Konrad Laimer – Is a product of the RB Salzburg youth system starting out in their feeder club FC Liefering where he made 19 appearances over 3 seasons. He then graduated to RB Slazburg where he made 57 appearances over 3 seasons. He moved to Leipzig in June 2017 and made 21 appearances. He currently has no caps, but was named in the senior squad for the 2018 WC qualifiers aged only 21. He has represented Austria at all youth levels.
Kevin Kampl – Purchased from Leverkusen for €20m. He made 74 appearances for RB Salzburg from 2012 until 2015 winning a league and cup double in 2014. He then moved for a fee of €10M to Borussia Dortmund (turning down Leipzig) where he played 14 games in a half season. He then spent 2 seasons at Bayern Leverkusen where he played 53 games. Finally Leipzig got their man and he played 26 games last season. He has made 28 appearances for the Slovenia senior team after representing them at U20 and U21 level.
Jean-Kévin Augustin – A product of the Paris Saint-Germain youth system he made 23 senior appearances for PSG from 2015 to 2017 before moving to RB Leipzig for €13m. He was named top-scorer and player of the tournament in the U19 2016 World Cup in Germany and played 25 games for Leipzig last season.
Matheus Cunha – I couldn’t find much information on this chap. He played for FC Sion in Switzerland. In 2017 he moved from his Brazilian Youth Club Coritiba FC U20 to FC Sion where he made 29 league appearances scoring 10 goals and gaining 8 assists. Apparently Leipzig saw his stature, strength, pace and his keen eye for goal and decided he was worth €13.25m. Sounds like a Brazilian Moussa Dembele to me.
Bruma – Armindo Tué Na Bangna came through the youth system of Sporting Club Portugal (SCP) he made his debut in Feb of 2013 for the SCP senior team and went on to make 13 more appearances before the end of the 2012 – 2013 season (not bad for an 18 year old). After a contract dispute he signed for Galatasary for €10m where he played 7 games before suffering a serious knee injury. This saw him sidelined and eventually loaned out to Real Sociadad where he played 32 games. He went on to play 30 games for Galatasary 2016 – 2017 season scoring 11 goals. He joined Leipzig in the summer of 2017 and 4 months later scored his first full international goal at Hampden contributing to a 3-1 trouncing of Scotland. In the FIFA U-20 World Cup he was awarded the Silver Shoe (aged18) and in the UEFA Euro U21s he won the Bronze boot in 2017.
So not all “reserve” players are created equal and we cannot just assume that because they are not first picks they are at a level below our first team. The gap between the backup at Leipzig and the first team is very small, but at Celtic it’s considerably larger. If we look at the kind of players they are bringing in we should be comparing them to the likes of Southampton beatable, yes, but only with our top players and very few errors. 


Which didn’t tell the whole story…there’s more to them than just quality players…
Believe it or not I agree with Brendan Rodgers when he said in a BT Sports interview after the away game that, “in the second leg we have a great chance of getting a good result.” We do, but what actually happened in Leipzig?
We set up with what Brendan described as a Diamond in his post-match interview I tend to disagree with this description, it’s not nearly descriptive enough. Had he used the term narrow in there somewhere he would’ve been more accurate. We had Kouassi sitting deep and (I don’t care what you all say) doing a great job of anticipating runs from their players and preventing a number of chances from crosses. We had Christie at the head of the diamond and McGregor with Ntcham sitting narrower than usual. This set-up was designed to thwart the 4-3-3 that Leipzig had been forced into due to injury and resting players. It worked a treat….. for 25 minutes. Tierney and Gamboa were able to bomb down the wing into space with the narrower Ntcham and MacGregor passing the ball neatly into their runs. Edouard and Morgan provided the overload vs the full-backs on occasion or merely kept them in narrow allowing for our full-backs to get crosses into the box.
However it all changed in the 25th minute with a pass of a note to Kevin Kampl. This note contained something to the effect of, “Push the RCM and LCM out wide in possession making them a RM and a LM.” – at least that’s what I assume it said (it could’ve been in German) because minutes later their 2 wider midfielders were playing just as wide as our fullbacks and overloading them, this pulled Ntcham and MacGregor out wide to support our fullbacks all the while leaving 3 defenders to contend with the 3 Leipzig strikers. In turn this caused Kouassi (who had done brilliantly tracking runs up until this point) to sit in the defensive line in place of Tierney or Gamboa and left only one midfielder to track movement and runs. They scored 6 minutes later by doing exactly that down our left flank and again 4 minutes later by doing the same down our right flank.
One quick tactical change and we were 2 goals down. Even in hind-sight this would’ve been difficult to prevent, but I believe that lining up in a 4-2-3-1 could’ve done so. Our wide players could’ve tracked back, preventing the wide overload (they do this on a weekly basis), one of our defensive midfielders could’ve dropped into the defensive line to make it 4 vs 3 and that would’ve left 1 defensive midfielder and our attacking midfielder to track runs.
So I have to assume that Brendan Rodger’s backroom staff who are far smarter than I am in the subject of football, but have likely come to a similar conclusion. So this is how I would line up.
Back 4 of Lustig, Boyata, Benkovic, Tierney, these guys know what to do. DEAL WITH THE CROSSES!
I suspect we will see a defensive midfield pairing of Mulumbu and MacGregor. Their main duties if Leipzig play 3 up front will be to shore up the defense by one of them joining the defensive line when our full-backs get pulled wide and tracking the attacking runs from deep. In the case of 2 up front probably just tracking the runs from midfield and one of them sitting back (Mulumbu) in possession allowing our full-backs to bomb forward and allowing the other defensive midfielder to move further forward and provide a pivot or focal point for quick switches of play.
Rogic will play in the attacking midfield role. I would expect him to move out of his defensive position quickly after Celtic gain possession and make himself available as an outlet to start a counter attack. He would be expected to do what Tom Rogic does, but will be asked to close down the opposition CM if a 3 is fielded and the DCM if the 4-1-2-1-2 is fielded by Leipzig. The last thing I would say to him would be, “run your lungs out, we have Ryan (Christie) on the bench.”
Forrest wide right with Scott Sinclair wide left. I would like to take a moment to congratulate Scott Sinclair on realizing he has a left foot. WE WANT TO SEE MORE OF IT! Try getting to the byline 3 or 4 times every game! These 2 players will have to concentrate on defensive duties out wide if Leipzig try their wide overload and sit in defensively if Leipzig play a more narrow formation, it’s highly likely they will have to stay alert and move and switch depending on what the opposition try. ABOVE ALL PROTECT THE FULL-BACK! Offensively I would expect them to do what they have been doing these last few games, pass, move, move some more. I would really be hoping for those quick switches of play from MacGregor which has been so important to us breaking down those Scottish defensive blocks in recent games.
Of course Odsonne Edouard would play up front. I have been really impressed with him recently, but I still don’t see him as being the main counter attacking outlet. His movement has improved considerably and he is playing with more confidence. I would ask him to be aware of the threat posed by a deep-lying playmaker in a counter attack and if Rogic can’t get to that central midfielder or CDM he should make closing him down a priority. He should expect 3 to 4 left footed low crosses from Sinclair (setting you up for success there), and the usual delivery from the rest of the team. I would love to see him get on the end of one of Lustig’s first time diagonal balls for the opener.
Christie will be an important substitute wherever he comes on, it could be for Rogic, it could be for Sinclair, but when he does he will be his lively self. I hope he doesn’t think me dropping him to the bench for this match is a kick in the teeth, but I honestly think we need 2 defensive minded midfielders. I would have him back in the first team for the match against Livingston.
All in all I have every confidence in our ability to beat Leipzig, but we cannot expect them to play 1 formation for more than 25 minutes so Every-one will have to be on their toes.
As always there is a comments section where you can tell me how wrong my opinion is and I might even get back to you telling you that I had already considered what you think before deciding on something else. You know like Mulumbu is just back from injury he won’t be playing blah, blah, blah. If you liked this piece feel free to write PISH! In the comments and don’t forget to slag me off when Brendan plays a 3-5-2!

Thanks for reading.