Former Celtic man Marc Rieper claims Copenhagen won't be as open as Midtjylland

By David Walton

February 19, 2020

Former Celtic defender Marc Rieper has stated that Celtic can’t take comfort from Midtjylland’s loss to Rangers when we face Copenhagen on Thursday.

Celtic and Copenhagen will face off in the Europa League last-32 tomorrow. The first-leg at the Telia Parken will be crucial to Celtic’s hopes for qualifying with the second-leg being at Celtic Park.

Of course, it would be easy to point to the tie between Midtjylland and Rangers earlier this season as a reason to be confident. Steven Gerrard’s men hammered the Danish league leaders 7-3 on aggregate in Europa League qualifying. Celtic, meanwhile, have a 10-point lead over Rangers in Scotland whilst Copenhagen sit seven behind Midtjylland.

Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken (Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

However, speaking in the Daily Record, former Danish international Rieper stated that Rangers’ opponents aren’t as solid as Copenhagen.

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“Copenhagen are second, seven points behind Midtjylland who got hammered by Rangers in this competition.

Will that be a warning to Copenhagen? No, because they’re a lot more solid than Midtjylland. They’ve got flair but Copenhagen are stronger defensively.

“The top teams in Scotland are probably at the same level as the two or three top teams in Denmark so it will be an interesting tie.”

Stats go against Rieper’s verdict

Of course, Rieper watches the Danish Superliga a lot more than many of us do. However, looking at the table and the stats this season, it’s difficult to agree that Midtjylland are less open.

Overall in the league this season, Midtjylland have conceded a whole 10 goals less than Copenhagen. They’ve only shipped 13 in 21 games. That’s a lot better than 23 goals shipped in the same number of matches.

However, then again, Copenhagen have certainly kept the back door shut as much as possible in Europe this season. The Danes have now played 12 European matches and haven’t conceded over one goal in any of them.

Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken (Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

You could say that Copenhagen have been fortunate in the teams they’ve faced. TNS, Red Star Belgrade, Riga, Lugano, Dynamo Kiev, and Malmo won’t be winning any European competitions anytime soon. However, to have not conceded over one goal against any is impressive.

It’s fair to say that Copenhagen haven’t played a team as good as Celtic yet. With the firepower we have in our squad, you would hope that we finally break that one-goal record they’ve been keeping in Europe this season.

However, it still feels odd to dismiss how easily Midtjylland went out of the competition to Rangers. Surely, considering the league table, that’s got to count for something.