Leverkusen wünderkind Florian Wirtz preparing for "fan madness" at Celtic Park

By Euan Davidson

September 28, 2021

Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid Florian Wirtz is set to face his biggest crowd yet when his team arrive at Celtic Park.

With over 55,000 supporters facing the young German star, his club’s Sporting Director Simon Rolfes is telling him to brace for his biggest stage yet.

German outlet Bild have said that “fan madness is guaranteed”. Which isn’t a totally inaccurate assumption to make.

Wirtz recently broke a Bundesliga record for being the youngest player to score 10 goals [Bild]. However, the biggest crowd he’s played in front of was 23,450.

At Paradise, he’ll face more than double that. It’s an odd fact of life in the pandemic era – players who broke through last season are just getting used to fans being in grounds, worldwide.

His Sporting Director, Simon Rolfes, has described the task for talented 18-year-old Wirtz. He said [Bild]:

“This is a completely new experience for Florian because at first he was almost never able to play in front of an audience. 

“Celtic fans want to see the team giving their all” | Jackie McNamara on 67 Hail Hail

“Celtic fans want to see the team giving their all” | Jackie McNamara on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

“You can feel that the players are enjoying the fact that spectators are finally back in the stadium. It’s the same with us at [home].”

Celtic Park has the atmosphere to unsettle anyone on European nights. Could Bayer Leverkusen and Florian Wirtz be next?

Currently, it’s impossible to argue Bayer Leverkusen won’t be a huge test for Celtic on Thursday night.

They’re one of the form teams in the Bundesliga, and have some excellent talents in their team. It’s not just limited to Florian Wirtz.

Jeremie Frimpong has provided 4 assists in 8 games [Transfermarkt], Patrik Schick is on fire, and they’ve got a real wealth of options in various positions.

Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

But, it’s Celtic Park isn’t it? Whether it’s a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night, Paradise is an intimidating place for teams to come to.

Granted, we’re not coming off particularly good form. That’ll have little to no bearing on the atmosphere on Thursday night, though.

Especially, that is, if Celtic can make a strong start against some formidable opposition. We saw against Real Betis that Celtic aren’t particularly scared of big occasions, but slack defending has cost us.

Can the noise of the Bhoys’ crowd stun Leverkusen’s young talents? We’ve got to hope so.

Read more: Celtic great Hartson stands firmly behind Postecoglou after Nicholas and Levein nonsense