Celtic Europa League opponent update: Rennes slip up again, Cluj convincing

By John McGinley

November 25, 2019

Another week of UEFA Europa League football is upon us and for Celtic it could be a glorious one.

Although we’ve already qualified for the Round of 32, there is still a major goal to achieve.

Victory against Rennes on Thursday combined with a Cluj defeat against Lazio would see us confirmed as group winners, banking more prize money and ensuring we are seeded for the knockout stages.

Worth checking in then on how our opponents fared over the weekend in their respective leagues.

Who is hot and who is struggling?

Rennes continue to show inconsistency

The French club suffered a defeat to relegation-threatened Dijon at the weekend, losing 2-1. That was despite taking the lead during the second half.

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They have real consistency problems this season. In fact, they’ve failed to win back to back games since August and have only two victories since then.

Julien Stephan’s team are undoubtedly there for the taking on Thursday evening, especially when you consider they have nothing to play for but pride.

Expect a much-rotated visiting team. Stephan has already admitted he’s planning on playing youngsters.

While we may not be fielding the strongest team ourselves, there should be no excuses when it comes to picking up all three points in Paradise.

(Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)

Convincing Cluj

It was a return to form for Dan Petrescu’s men, who could only manage a 0-0 draw in their match prior to the international break.

Thrashing Chindia Targoviste 4-0 on Friday night should ensure they are in confident mood and well rested ahead of their trip to Lazio this week.

They have arguably been the big surprise package of our European group. While many likely wouldn’t have expected us to be dominating at the top, similarly their form has been remarkable.

Hopefully though their good run of form hits a brick wall in Rome. While we can admire the way they’ve gone about the group, we don’t want to finish second to them.

(Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)

Lazio on course

We have completed our double-header against the Serie A side but it’s worth pointing out that they continue to show their quality in the Italian top-flight.

A 2-1 win away to Sassuolo means they’ve won their last five league fixtures and remain on course to qualify for the Champions League, currently sitting in third position.

There’s a long way to go of course but it does demonstrate the quality that they have.

The only team who have beaten them in nearly two months of action in all competitions is Celtic. And we managed to do that twice.