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Celtic v RB Leipzig (Preview)

Probabilities for the match are Celtic 32%, Leipzig 43% and 25% for the draw.

Leipzig are likely to line up with the same team that faced Celtic in Germany with the exception of their goalkeeper.

The line up likely to be the following in a 4-2-3-1 formation;

  • In goals will be back up keeper Janis Blaswich (21) who they signed from Dutch team Heracles in the summer due to Gulacsi being out for the season after his injury against Celtic.

  • Right back will be French 22 year old Mohamed Simakan (2) who won 7 out of 9 ground duels against Celtic.

  • Right centre back was Hungarian Willi Orban (4). He is 5th in the Bundesliga for accurate passes per 90 at 67.8.

  • Left centre back will be Josko Gvardiol (32). Gvardiol is top in the Bundesliga for accurate passes per 90 at 79.4 and he also averages 5.7 accurate long balls per 90

  • Left back will be David Raum (22) who had 0.22 xA against Celtic.

  • Right sided defensive midfielder will be Slovenian Kevin Kampl (44) who had a 95% pass accuracy against Celtic.

  • Left sided defensive midfielder will be Austrian Xaver Schlager (24) who seemed to cover every blade of grass against Celtic.

  • 21 year old Hungarian wide forward Dominik Szoboszlai (17) had 91% passing accuracy and 0.53 xG against Celtic.

  • French front man Christopher Nkunku (18) will play behind the striker. He is 8th in the Bundesliga for xG per 90 with 0.61 and has 7 goals this season. He had 91% accuracy and 0.35 xA from the game against Celtic. He also had 0.73 Post Shot xG from 0.09 xG in the game.

  • Wide left will be ex-Chelsea player Timo Werner (11). He has 0.59 xG per 90 in the Bundesliga (10th). He had 0.25 xA against Celtic.

  • Up front will be Portugese forward Andre Silva (19). He had 1.45 xG and 1.85 Post Shot xG against Celtic and 2 goals. Silva has not been in the top 11 most played players for Leipzig this year but it looks like he is being trusted with starting now. He has 21 goals from 64 games for Leipzig and had 45 goals from 71 games for Eintracht Frankfurt before that so he is definitely a problem (alongside the other 3 forwards) for Celtic.

Leipzig average player positions for the previous game against Celtic opposite.

Against Mainz at the weekend Leipzig drew 1-1 and they rested Simakan, Gvardiol, Raum, Kampl and Silva.

As I highlighted in my match review of the first game Celtic are one of the best at pressing (quantity) out of all the Champions League teams however they are one of the worst (quality) for success rate of those presses. They are also one of the best for front third presses.

This, in my opinion, can only lead to tiredness, especially when they have less possession.

As a result Celtic’s excellent performance in the first 55 minutes against two quality teams (Real Madrid and RB Leipzig) is overridden by their very poor performance in the last 35 minutes against those teams.

I mentioned more about first 55 minutes performance here

You can see opposite that Celtic’s PPDA was at it’s best in the first 30 minutes and last 15 minutes (when subs had come on). Dropping to 23.7 between 46-60 minutes.

Celtic’s average formation line dropped dramatically in the first 15 minutes of the second half and that backs up Ange’s post match comments that Celtic passed the ball back to Joe Hart too easily after the equaliser.

Celtic basically went into risk averse mode and an average formation line of 41 metres.

I predicted a 3-1 win for Leipzig in my match preview of the first game and I mentioned that I didn’t take notice of their result against Shakhtar as it was a bit of a freak result.

This game will again be a very tough one and while Celtic will have the home backing the high pressing stats do suggest sustaining that intensity may be difficult.

Especially the final third pressing as mentioned above Leipzig’s two centre backs are in the Bundesliga’s top 5 for accurate passes per 90 and therefore good at beating the press.

A positive though ahead of the game is that Celtic have only conceded 0.26 xG from Set Plays in total for their three games and that’s the 5th best of all 32 Champions League teams.

So if they can either sort the tiredness post 55 minutes and restrict open play xGA or take their chances in those first 55 minutes they could pull off a great result against a very good team.

A win against Leipzig would mean another win against Shakhtar would guarantee 2nd place (as long as Real Madrid beat Shakhtar and Leipzig).

Bookmakers are offering 2/1 for a Celtic victory and while I was pessimistic for the first game in Germany I am more optimistic for this game and I reckon that 2/1 offering is value for money.

Celtic Trends 🍀📈⚽️

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