Bayer Leverkusen £18.8m midfielder Exequiel Palacios to miss Celtic Park trip

By David Walton

September 18, 2021

Bayer Leverkusen have suffered an early blow ahead of their trip to Celtic Park next Thursday with Exequiel Palacios being ruled out through injury.

Palacios is one of manager Gerardo Seoane’s key figures and scored the equaliser in Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Ferencvaros.

However, the Argentinian didn’t manage to complete the full match. He came off after 50 minutes after suffering torn ankle ligament damage.

Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Palacios has been capped 14 times for Argentina and was signed by Bayer Leverkusen back in December 2019 for €22m [£18.8m] [Goal].

Leverkusen boss Seoane has commented on the injury, and labelled the central midfielder as a major part of how he sets his team up.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Seoane said: “It’s an unfortunate situation because Exequiel has been a big part of the way we play and he will be missing for some time. So we need other players to step up and make an impression now.”

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Leverkusen will likely replace Palacios with Germany U20 international Robert Andrich to play alongside Charles Aranguiz. It’s still an extremely cultured engine room even without Palacios in the mix.

Celtic, of course, have their own injury concerns ahead of the game next Thursday. We’ll be hoping to have the likes of James Forrest, Callum McGregor, and Giorgos Giakoumakis up to speed by then.

Leverkusen will come to Celtic Park having won their first group stage match against Ferencvaros. The Hoops, meanwhile, came up short in a 4-3 loss to Real Betis on the same night.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Even without six of our best players, the Hoops still managed to land some blows on top quality Spanish opposition. Therefore, we would expect Leverkusen to be able to cope with an injury or two themselves and still be able to replace them with heavy quality.

For now, however, attentions turn to tomorrow’s match against Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Raith Rovers, and Dundee United will then follow before Bayer arrive in Glasgow.

And considering how the group is set up so far, the rewards are certainly there for Celtic if we can grab three points.

In other news, Chris Sutton delivers verdict on biggest Celtic weakness this season