Bayer Leverkusen have their own injury issues ahead of tonight's Celtic clash

By Euan Davidson

September 30, 2021

Ahead of meeting Bayer Leverkusen, there have been myriad injury issues for Celtic.

Star men like Kyogo and Callum McGregor have missed recent matches. Christopher Jullien is a long-term absence, while Greg Taylor is out for a while yet.

Meanwhile, question marks have hung over Mikey Johnston, James Forrest and new addition Giorgos Giakoumakis. But our opposition tonight have injury dilemmas of their own.

Leverkusen, who sit second in the Bundesliga, are without some experienced players. Exequiel Palacios, an £18.8m-rated Argentinian international, will miss tonight’s game with ligament damage.

Veteran campaigner Julian Baumgartlinger, the 84-cap Austrian with over 148 Leverkusen appearances, is out until next year, when he’ll be 34 [Buli News].

Former Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah is also a long-term injury miss, with a cruciate ligament tear [AP]. Die Werkself are also missing defensive cover. 22-year-old centre-back Edmond Tapsoba is ruled out [Bayer 04] and Odilon Kossounou is doubtful with a thigh injury [Bundesliga].

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Fine, the German outfit are still pretty well stocked in key positions. For example, they have Celtic-linked Piero Hincapié available to make his mark, having featured against Ferencvaros two weeks ago [Transfermarkt].

However, the side are lacking some significant experience, and take a very youthful team with them to Glasgow.

It isn’t just Celtic; Bayer Leverkusen have injury woes

Baumgartlinger, who has vast experience for club and country, is a real miss for Leverkusen. Without him, the average age of their squad lowers significantly. Having a wily operator like the Austrian in midfield would’ve been a boost for games like tonight.

Sure, Leverkusen can put out a very strong squad tonight. But it’s not as if things are perfect for the North Rhine-Westphalians.

In Fosu-Mensah, they would’ve had someone who can play in multiple positions, and help to dictate a game’s tempo. With Palacios, a goal and assist threat with real flair. Tapsoba and Kossonou’s absences mean a less settled back four.

Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

There are issues for Celtic to exploit against Bayer Leverkusen. If they can get at the Bayer defence from the first whistle, in a hostile atmosphere for the Bundesliga side, there are chances to be had.

Can the Bhoys take advantage? Or will we be hampered by our own squad weaknesses?

It should be a fascinating game.

Read more: “They actually wanted me”; Joe Hart jokes about Celtic move in Instagram Q+A