Celtic’s 2023/24 Champions League campaign finally kicks off next week. The Bhoys are due to take on Dutch champions Feyenoord in Rotterdam in the first of their six group-stage matches.

Going into the game, Brendan Rodgers provided Hoops’ fans with an injury update regarding the Celts, although there has been a recent boost for the Bhoys involving the availability of the opposition.

On Tuesday afternoon, Feyenoord confirmed that Japanese striker Ayase Ueda would be out for the ‘coming weeks’. The 25-year-old sustained a ‘muscle injury’ on international duty with Japan, pulling up shortly after bagging in a 4-1 away win over Germany.

World cup
REUTERS/Matthew Childs

Ueda, who joined Feyenoord this summer from Cercle Brugge after netting 23 goals over his only year at the club, would have been keen to make his Champions League debut. That won’t be possible next week, though.

Along with Ueda, Feyenoord have another striker unavailable for their clash with the Scottish champions. Mexican international Santiago Gimenez was sent off in the second leg of a Europa League quarter-final with Roma last season, and because Feyenoord have yet to play in a UEFA competition since, his suspension has carried on into this campaign.

Gimenez received a two-game ban for his sending-off, meaning he and Ueda will both miss the match with Celtic. These are Arne Slot’s only two senior strikers, and their lack of availability will only be positive for Brendan Rodgers’ side.

The Bhoys, though, still need to go over to the Netherlands and put in a respectable performance. It will undoubtedly be an arduous tie for the Hoops, however, it is most certainly winnable.


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