While Celtic are taking on Rennes on Thursday evening, the other Group E clash between Cluj and Lazio will also be taking place.
The Romanians have home advantage for the matchday one clash and will hope they can get off to a positive start. Of course, the vast majority of Celtic’s attention will be on our game in Brittany, but what would be a good result in Romania?
Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi doesn’t think the match, or overall group, will be easy for his side. Lazio may be the top seeded side in the section but the Italian says it wasn’t a great draw for his team.
“This is a tough group, more at the level of the Champions League than Europa League,” he told press. (Football Italia)
“Both Celtic and Cluj were in the Champions League preliminary rounds, while Rennes won the French Super Cup and are doing very well. It wasn’t a great draw for us, that’s for sure.”
Cluj boss Dan Petrescu also heaped the praise on Lazio and Celtic, by saying that it was a joy for Cluj to compete against such illustrious European names.
“I am worried, because it’s rare for Lazio to lose two games in a row,” he told Football Italia. All teams have weaknesses, whether it’s Lazio, Cluj or Barcelona. It’s exciting for us to be in a group with famous clubs like Celtic and Lazio.”
What is a good result between Cluj and Lazio?
A draw is probably the obvious outcome that would benefit Celtic fans. However, either team winning could be looked at favourably too. If we’re keen on winning the group and getting a better draw in the round of 32 then a Cluj victory would be pretty helpful.
That would mean that we could beat them on matchday two and be joint second at the very worst – even if we lose in Rennes.
But if we just concede that top spot may be hard to achieve, then a Lazio win wouldn’t be bad. That would mean that victory over Cluj on matchday two would put them in a tough position to qualify. Given that we face them away in Romania on matchday six, it may be nice for them not to be playing for anything at that point.