AZ Alkmaar captain buzzing for Celtic Park experience whilst manager won't play new signing

By David Walton

August 17, 2021

AZ Alkmaar captain Teun Koopmeiners has stated that the prospect of playing in front of a packed Celtic Park is “unbelievable” as his manager confirmed he won’t play his new first-choice goalkeeper Peter Vindahl.

Koopmeiners has been at the centre of plenty of transfer speculation himself. He was left out of their first domestic game of the season against RKC Waalwijk at the weekend. This came amid rumours that he could be joining Atalanta [Quotidiano].

There have been big question marks about whether the AZ captain would feature at Parkhead tomorrow night. However, he was the player chosen to take part in pre-match media duties along with the manager. And he was quick to talk up his potential Parkhead experience.

As quoted by NH Nieuws, the AZ captain said: “I’m focused on the club. I’m 100 percent focused on tomorrow’s game. Being on the bench is not something that should play a major role. We have to look good against Celtic and I’m ready to play.

“It will be unbelievable to play in front of them. I’m going to really enjoy that. But we come to play football and we always play to win. That’s what we’re going for tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, AZ boss Pascal Jensen still through doubt over whether Koopmeiners would feature. He also confirmed that new number one Vindahl won’t play after signing for the club yesterday.

“Ange has Celtic playing the Dutch way” | AZ Alkmaar fan Anthony

“Ange has Celtic playing the Dutch way” | AZ Alkmaar fan Anthony

As quoted by NH Nieuws, Jensen said: “I may make some other choices. it would be special if the situation of Koopmeiners (not yet fit) suddenly changed after two days. In any case, I opt for Hobie Verhulst on goal, because we want our new keeper Peter Vindahl more time (to get used to AZ).”

AZ Alkmaar not in peak form heading into Celtic Park meeting

This is interesting stuff from Jensen first and foremost. All of a sudden, Alkmaar are going to be coming to Parkhead with their back-up goalkeeper in between the sticks.

Verhulst was in goal for Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Waalwijk. Last season, he conceded 14 goals in only six appearances for the club. The former Netherlands under-20 international has plenty of lower-league experience to his name, but top-level football has been sparse.

So much so that his appearance at Parkhead tomorrow night will be his first-ever European match. At 28 years of age, the AZ shot-stopper is set for the biggest night of his career. And perhaps the nerviest too.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

New signing Vindahl has been registered for their Europa League squad to face Celtic. However, it looks more likely that he’ll be selected for the second leg instead.

As for Koopmeiners, it appears as though his opportunity to play tomorrow night is up in the air. His manager says he doesn’t expect him to be fit. Yet he’s brought him on the trip and has him sitting alongside him for the pre-match presser.

If Koopmeiners wasn’t fit and ready to play, you have to question why he’s even been brought to Glasgow in the first place. Regardless, all will be revealed when the teamsheet is provided tomorrow night.

In other news, Liel Abada posts “ready” message on Instagram ahead of Celtic vs AZ Alkmaar