Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers must decide to stick or twist in Europa League

By Connor Gordon

October 25, 2018

Celtic face Leipzig tonight with Brendan Rodgers needing to prove his genius by sticking or twisting.

Whatever he decides will ultimately determine the club’s European future this year.

Celtic defended last time

Against Salzburg, Rodgers decided to stick and sit back on Celtic’s very early lead.

The Bhoys managed to withstand an onslaught of attacks until they finally succumbed in the second half.

Celtic could only keep Salzburg out for so long in last tie. (Photo by David Geieregger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

It worked to an extent as the Austrians had to resort to long range shots as the first half drew to a close.

However, tiring legs and superior forwards meant they were always going to get an ideal chance.

Leipzig test will be more competitive

When it comes to tonight’s fixture, on paper the tie is arguably more in the balance than the last one.

Salzburg defeated Leipzig in their opening fixture and the Germans sit fifth in the Bundesliga.

Ralf Rangnick’s men drew 0-0 at the weekend away to a tough Augsburg outfit, proving their defensive worth.

German international Timo Werner will be looking to take advantage of weakened Celtic. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

It’s their forwards however that are more renowned with Timo Werner the star man.

Injuries and suspensions interrupt tactical work

The task is made even more difficult for Celtic with Tom Rogic, James Forrest, Scott Brown, Youssouf Mulumbu and Kristoffer Ajer all out.

The game will be decided in the midfield and with Celtic’s usual spine out, hopes of a win are slim.

If Rodgers decides to defend then it’ll be even harder to do so.

By deciding to attack then it’ll need to be the case of one team trying to outscore the other.

Celtic’s last European group stage win was away at Anderlecht. (Picture Vincent Van Doornick / Isosport

Fans think we are due another Anderlecht away performance – professional and structural.

To do that Celtic would need to catch Leipzig on a really bad day which is unlikely.

Every player must prove their worth

Rodgers always talks about his players being brave on the ball which is key to positive European results.

He needs to pick a team of players who will adhere to that call and prove they can cut it in the Europa League.

Due to injuries and suspensions, he might just have to choose less experienced players.

They must stand up and be counted and could be a shot in the arm for their Celtic careers.

The decision that matters ultimately is if Rodgers sticks or twists.