Celtics and Midtjylland will clash on Tuesday, July 20, at Celtic Park in Glasgow in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. The two sides have yet to meet before, which promises an exciting fixture this evening as both teams look to make one step forward to locking in a spot in the most prestigious football club competition in the world.
Celtic vs Midtjylland
When: Tuesday, July 20 – 19:45 BST
Where: Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland
Weather: Mostly sunny, 23°C
Referee: Sandro Schärer (SWI)
The first leg of the doubleheader between Celtic and Midtjylland takes place in Glasgow, at the Celtic Park. While home advantage will undoubtedly play a role, only about 9,000 fans will be allowed to watch the game live, leaving more than 50,000 seats empty.
Celtic look like a team that need the help of the fans to go through a rough patch. As a reminder, this team finished second in the Scottish Premiership, recording the lowest points total since the 1999/2000 season, when they accumulated only 69.
Qualifying for the Champions League would definitely be a step in the right direction for Celtic. The problem is that to get there; they need to go past Midtjylland, a team that is looking the strongest it has been in its history.
There’s a New Boss in Town
Neil Lennon resigned as the Celtic manager in February, when it became clear that the Hoops have lost the title race to their arch-rivals Glasgow Rangers. As Lennon’s replacement, the club appointed his assistant manager, John Kennedy.
The 37-year-old got the job of the caretaker manager, which he held for the following 15 weeks. Now, he’s back to his assistant manager duties as Celtic have appointed a new manager – Ange Postecoglou.
Postecoglou’s first competitive game as the Celtic boss is the one against Midtjylland. He would surely like to win on his debut, but there are so many things going against him. First of all, he hasn’t had enough time to prepare his team for the game, having arrived in Scotland in mid-June, after which he had to stay in quarantine for another two weeks.
Furthermore, the new boss will not be able to count on several first-team players, including Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele.
Ambitious Midtjylland Determined to Get to the UCL
Anders Holch Povlsen, the wealthiest person in Denmark, has recently invested in Midtjylland to lay the foundation for the “Vision 2025”, which aims to make Midtjylland one of the top-50 teams in Europe by 2050. The Danish football club have a road ahead of them, but Midtjylland are taking steps in the right direction and already look fairly solid.
They have some excellent players in the squad who have plenty of experience on the international stage. Their most notable player is Pione Sisto, a 26-year-old Danish international with the team from 2012-2016, before moving to Spain to play with Celta Vigo.
Since his homecoming to his childhood club, Sisto has established himself as the crucial player for Midtjylland in the midfield and will be the man to watch as Midtjylland look to derail the former Scottish champions.
Then, there’s also Erik Sviatchenko, a 29-year-old defender, who had spent two seasons playing for Celtic. Still, Midtjylland’s most exciting player is Gustav Isaksen. The 20-year-old creative midfielder is one of the hottest prospects in Scandinavia, so it’s no surprise he has found himself on Manchester City’s shortlist ahead of the next season.
Celtic vs Midtjylland Betting Picks
Celtics might have a solid squad, but this team is a mess currently. Losing the domestic league to their arch-rivals won’t help their morale, and it certainly doesn’t help to know that this term was their worst in over two decades.
Midtjylland have the talent to be competitive in Scotland this evening and force at least a draw.
Prediction: Midtjylland +0.50 Asian Handicap – 1.91 at Sportmarket
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