Celtic Europa League opponent update: Discipline drama, toe-to-toe with elite

By John McGinley

September 13, 2021

Celtic’s Europa League Group G opponents had a mixed weekend in domestic action.

The Hoops are about to embark on a gauntlet of matches against Real Betis, Bayer Leverkusen and Ferencvaros, so it’s always worth checking out how they get on week to week between the European clashes.

Our immediate upcoming opponents Betis don’t play until 10pm Spanish time tonight, against Granada, so there’s no real update there beyond the imperfect circumstances for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

But how did the other two get on in recent days?

Bayer Leverkusen go toe-to-toe with Borussia Dortmund

I doubt you had any misgivings about the quality that Leverkusen possess, but if you did, they have been shattered by their performance against Dortmund.

The two sides played out a thrilling encounter in Bundesliga on Saturday, with Erling Haaland’s edging out the home side 4-3.

Celtic 3-0 Ross County | Full-Time Reaction

Celtic 3-0 Ross County | Full-Time Reaction
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Our opponents actually went ahead against Dortmund on three occasions before being pegged back and eventually beaten. The result leaves Gerardo Seoane’s side in sixth position with seven points after four games.

However, it’s clear to see that attacking talents such as Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz are going to cause us a lot of problems both when dominating possession and on the counter. Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys are going to have to be at their absolute best to get positive results against the Germans.

You can watch highlights on the Bundesliga YouTube channel.

Discipline drama doesn’t stop Ferencvaros

Ferencvaros showed a different quality to Leverkusen at the weekend – resilience. They actually won their encounter away to Honved in the Hungarian top-flight, but it didn’t come easy.

A deflected effort gave them a 1-0 lead through Tokmac Nguen. However, just a few minutes later, Ferencvaros went down to ten men when Endre Botka pulled down a striker through on goal.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Botka’s dismissal ensured Ferencvaros had to play more than an hour with a man disadvantage but they managed to pull the result out of the bag.

Honved pushed for a winner but couldn’t crack open a determined defence.

You can watch highlights on the MLSV TV YouTube channel.

In other news, Albian Ajeti and his “now or never” challenge at Celtic.