By: Timothy Dehinbo
Two months after suffering their heaviest-ever European defeat at the Camp Nou, Celtic FC will be determined to get one over the catalan giants when the teams meet again on matchday five.
Barcelona’s 7-0 win on matchday one was not just a record defeat for the Glasgow club but also the biggest victory the Blaugrana have achieved in over 50 years of European Cup/UEFA Champions League football.
Entering this return fixture, Barcelona will be full of confidence as they look to bounce back from defeat at Manchester City FC and cement qualification for the last 16.
They will progress with a victory or with any result if VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach fail to beat City in other Group C fixture. To maintain their faint hopes of European football after Christmas, Celtic need a victory after two draws and two defeats so far.
In previous meetings, Barcelona beat Celtic 3-1 in a pre-season friendly in Dublin on 30 July this year. Although Leigh Griffiths cancelled out Arda Turan’s opening effort, Efe Ambrose’s own goal and a Munir El Haddadi
strike secured the Azulgrana’s victory.
Barcelona overcame Neil Lennon’s Celtic home and away in the 2013/14 group stage. A Cesc Fàbregas goal after 76 minutes was the difference between the sides in Glasgow on a night when Celtic lost Scott Brown to a red card.
Gerardo Martino’s side were more emphatic winners back in Barcelona, their 6-1 victory headlined by Neymar’s first Barça hat-trick. It was then Celtic’s joint-heaviest European defeat.
Barcelona have won six of the teams’ last seven meetings, the exception being Celtic’s 2-1 home win in 2012/13 when Victor Wanyama and TonyWatt got their goals. The clubs’ overall head-to-head record from 11
past meetings is seven wins for Barcelona, two for Celtic and two draws.
Celtic lost their last home game against Gladbach (0-2) but can take heart after a 1-1 draw against the same opponents in Germany last time out.
Although, they won three home matches inqualifying, Celtic have not won any of their last six home group fixtures in the UEFA Champions League/UEFA Europa League (D2 L4). Celtic’s overall home record against Spanish clubs is W7 D2 L5.
Luis Enrique’s side are looking to clinch their 13th successive participation in the UEFA Champions League knockout phase. Their matchday four defeat in Manchester was their first reverse in a UEFA Champions League
group game since losing 3-2 at Paris Saint-Germain in September 2014.
Barcelona’s away record against Scottish sides is W3 D1 L3.
PREDICTION: CELTIC 1-3 BARCELONA