5 things Celtic fans must know about Copenhagen's season so far
Celtic have been drawn against Danish side FC Copenhagen in the Europa League Round of 32.
Neil Lennon’s Bhoys have already picked up famous results over Lazio and Rennes this season and head into the knockout stages full of confidence.
Our performance in the groups ensured we entered today’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland as seeds and as a result, we managed to avoid cash-rich clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal.
However, danger teams remained in the unseeded section, including teams from Spain, Italy and England. In comparison, facing Copenhagen could be seen as favourable.
But what do we know about the reigning Superliga champions? And how is their season going so far?
We had a look at some of the key information and came up with five things to know about them heading into the fixture.
Their top scorer is Pieros Sotiriou
While we have players such as Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard leading the way on our scoring charts, Copenhagen’s main hitman this season has been Cypriot international Pieros Sotiriou.
He’s netted 11 goals in 28 appearances for the Danes this season but is also the only player of theirs to reach double figures so far this term (Transfermarkt).
That doesn’t particularly inspire confidence they are a free-flowing attacking side, so it’s likely they’ll take a pragmatic approach to a Lennon team that can’t do anything but score this season.
With 12 career European goals to his name though, he will be the one to watch when we visit the Parken Stadium in February.
Their most creative talent is Viktor Fischer
Fischer is reported to be a former Celtic transfer target, with papers such as The Northern Echo claiming in 2017 that we were interested in landing him when he was at Middlesbrough.
The 25-year-old has a decent pedigree, having initially emerged as an exciting talent at Ajax.
This season he is a creative spark for Copenhagen, registering nine assists, more than double anyone else in their squad (Transfermarkt).
If we can shut him down then it cuts off their main outlet for creating chances.
That task could fall to Jeremie Frimpong on our right flank, with Fischer playing predominately on the left. You’d expect the young defender to have been added to our Europa League squad by then.
They are currently adrift of Erik Sviatchenko’s FC Midtjylland
Rather encouragingly, Copenhagen aren’t enjoying the best of seasons in their homeland. They are currently seven points adrift of Erik Sviatchenko’s FC Midtjylland in the Danish Superliga, albeit with a game in hand.
When you consider that Rangers comfortably dispatched Sviatchenko’s outfit in Europe earlier this season, it bodes well for our chances against a team from the same country.
We’ll be heading into this tie as favourites and while that comes with expectation, and nothing can be taken for granted, it’s a great way to start off in the knockout stages.
If we perform to the best of our abilities, we should beat them.
They were outclassed by Malmo
Although our most recent tie with Malmo didn’t exactly go well for us, the fact that they finished above Copenhagen in this year’s Europa League group stage is a decent barometer of the quality Copenhagen possess in Europe.
The Swedish side drew with Copenhagen at home and beat them in Denmark on the final matchday to confirm their status as group winners.
Malmo are not European big hitters and compared to a team like Lazio, who currently sit in third in Serie A, are much weaker opposition than we faced in the groups.
Both of Copenhagen’s victories came as 1-0 wins over Lugano, drawing or losing the others. They really are there for the taking.
They came into this season with an identical UEFA co-efficient to Celtic
Although much of this information has been positive for Celtic, there is a note of caution. Heading into this season, Copenhagen’s stature in UEFA competition was exactly the same as the Hoops’.
They had 31.00 co-efficient points, exactly the same as Neil Lennon’s men (UEFA).
It demonstrates that while we’ll be buoyant heading into the fixture, nothing can be taken for granted and that we’re facing a team who have similar ambitions to us in continental action.
The star of their co-efficient total is a 16.00 point haul in 2016/17, when they qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League when they were narrowly knocked out by eventual finalists Ajax.
Margins are tight at this level of European competition and we must be at our absolute best to progress.