Celtic have to do some serious explaining for last weeks’ loss to Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League. While Bodo was the sweet surprise of the group stage, nobody expected them to run over Celtic in the way they did. Now, the second leg has the potential to be the most interesting game of this stage.
What happened in the 1st leg?
Celtic were the obvious favourite to win the previous match and the expectations were for a win with two or three goals. Instead, the team scored a single goal although it had 15 attempts and 7 shots on goal.
On the other side, Bodo/Glimt continued with their traditional style of play. The team had few chances – a total of seven and four shots on goal. Yet, their efficiency was incredible and they scored three goals with those four shots.
Despite the fact that Bodo/Glimt had not played an official game since the end of the season in Norway two months ago, the team ended Celtic’s streak of nine consecutive wins. Now, the team has a two-goal deficit that has to be overcome on the road.
Will Celtic bounce back and qualify for the next round?
What should Celtic improve in order to beat the unpredictable Bodo/Glimt? The team is built out of outstandingly fast players that are always on the move and keeping a pace of play that is good enough for them to dominate the Scottish elite.
Bodo/Glimt had a clear tactic against this style of play. Last week’s visitors forced Celtic into a position that they rarely experience. Bodo took control over the ball with long possessions that slowed down the pace of the match. The team successfully exploited the free spaces while focusing their defensive efforts around Maeda. Celtic’s frontman had no chances to free himself in front of the goal apart from that one case when he scored.
What Celtic need to do is take control over the ball at an early stage and perform their typical high-pressure play. Even if the pace is slower than usual, they should keep possession and build up their attacks until a potential chance appears for a cross.
Overall, Celtic are the much better team. Last week, besides the obvious solid performance from Bodo/Glimt, Celtic created a lot of chances but luck was not on their side. As long as they improve their possession game and manage to close the gaps defensively, the goals will follow.
Celtic’s forwards Ajeti and Kyogo will miss Thursday’s fixture, so if you are into betting, Maeda Daizen and Abada Liel are the players to pick as goalscorers. Abada Liel has 13 goals in 39 games this season while Maeda scored four goals in his eight games to date.
Celtic vs Bodo/Glimt might become an absolute fiesta for pundits but there are seven more Europa Conference League fixtures that you can read about on Football Whispers.