Tue, 17/10/17, 11:26
The Scottish treble winners
On Matchday 3 of the new Champions League season, FC Bayern meet Scottish treble winners Celtic. The only two previous meetings between the two sides came in the 2003/04 competition, when a 2-1 win in Munich was followed by a goalless draw in Glasgow. fcbayern.com presents Wednesday evening’s opponents.
‘Celtic Football and Athletic Club’ was founded on 6 November 1887 and will therefore be celebrating its 130th birthday in a few weeks. It was almost six months before the club played its first game, a ‘friendly’ against local rivals Rangers which they won 5-2. In August 1888 the club joined the Glasgow and Scottish Football Association and celebrated its first trophy in 1892 with victory in the cup. A year later Celtic became league champions for the first time.
There has always been a big rivalry between Celtic - the club of Irish Catholics - and traditionally protestant Rangers, who were formed a few years before. The ‘Old Firm’ match between the two clubs is the oldest and probably most historic derby in the world. The two clubs have dominated Scottish football for over a century, with Celtic winning a total of 48 league titles and 37 Scottish Cups (a record). Since Rangers were forced into relegation in 2012, Celtic have been without serious competition, as demonstrated by their run of six consecutive titles Last season, the Hoops won the Scottish Premiership by 30 points and lifted both the Scottish Cup and League Cup to record their fourth double.
However, Celtic have never been able to replicate their domestic success on the European stage. The biggest success in the club’s history came on 25 May 1967 - six days before Bayern’s first European title - when they beat Inter Milan 2-1 in the European Cup final in Lisbon, becoming the first club ever to win the prestigious treble. That remains their only continental trophy, though. The club lost in the final of the Intercontinental Cup in the following year and in their other two final appearances in the European Cup (1970) and UEFA Cup (2003).
Champions League record:
In the all-time Champions League table, Celtic rank in 38th place with 64 points from 62 games (not including the European Cup). This year is Celtic’s 10th appearance in the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition and they’re looking to do better than their previous two attempts. In 2013/14 and 2016/17, the Scots finished bottom of their group with only three points. They have only progressed beyond the group stage on three occasions and have never got further than the last 16. The last time they got that far was in the 2012/13 campaign, when they were knocked out by a Juventus side featuring Bayern’s Arturo Vidal.
“Welcome to paradise” reads the banner on the club’s official website and the same message greets visitors to Celtic Park. The stadium in the district of Parkhead has been the home of the Bhoys since 1892 and is renowned for its inimitable atmosphere. Just over 60,000 fans create a spine-tingling atmosphere at every home game, which alone makes a visit worthwhile. That’s why Celtic Park was voted the UK’s favourite stadium a few years ago.
Brendan Rodgers became manager of Celtic in summer 2016 and won the domestic treble (Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup) in his first season. Prior to that, the Northern Irishman managed Liverpool for three seasons and spent two years at Swansea, who he led into the Premier League in the 2010/11 season. Tactically, the 44 year-old favours variability and constantly sets his team up in different formations.
The undisputed leader of the pack is captain Scott Brown, who has been at the club since 2007 and worn the captain's armband since 2010. After the 32 year-old midfield enforcer, Swedish defender Mikael Lustig is the most internationally well-known and experienced player in the squad. With 21 year-olds Oliver Ntcham and Moussa Dembélé as well as 20 year-old Patrick Roberts, Celtic also have a number of talented youngsters who are untried on the international stage.
The champions of the previous six years again find themselves top of the table this season, although they are currently level on points with Aberdeen after nine matches. The Bhoys have registered seven wins and two draws, and are again the clear favourites for the title. In the Champions League they started with a 5-0 drubbing by Paris Saint-Germain but they won 3-0 at Anderlecht in their second group game. Celtic and FCB therefore go into this week’s encounter on the same number of points.