Last 16 Preview

I’m sure we are all aware that next Thursday at 10.30am uk time, the draw will be made for the last 16 of this seasons Champions League. All eyes, ears and mobile phones etc of a Celtic mind will be tuned into the events in UEFA’s Swiss HQ in Nyon to see who we are paired with. With that in mind I thought I’d do a little preview of who we could face and let everyone discuss who they would like to draw.

The teams we could face are, in no particular order..Paris Saint Germain (PSG) , Schalke, Málaga CF, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, or Manchester United. Some of these teams we have faced fairly recently, some not so recently and a couple we have never faced. Let’s begin shall we..
PSG.
Home ground: Parc des Princes capacity : (48,000)
Currently managed by Carlo Ancelotti, PSG have been one of europes big spenders recently spending a French record of €108m acquiring top stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi but to name a few. Celtic last faced PSG in the european cup winners cup 2nd round on November 2nd 1995 with the French team winning 3-0 in Glasgow to complete a 4-0 aggregate win.
Shalke04
Home ground: the Veltins arena.
Capacity: 61,678
Schalke are the first of the three German sides we can be paired with and would be the preferred choice for me. We have never faced them before, They are based in Gelsenkirchen and have recently appointed  Jens Keller as manager after sacking Huub Stevens. The club is on a really poor run domestically, only picking up two points from their last six league games. They still have some class players though like Hollands Klass Jan Huntelaar and would be no walkover.
Malaga C.F
Home ground: La rosalida
Capacity: 29,500
Malaga are currently managed by well respected coach Manuel Pellegrini who’s previous jobs have been at clubs like Villarreal and most recently Real Madrid! They are the second team we have never faced. Although they are having some money troubles Malaga have made light work of this their first season in the champions league finishing top of their group! They have some quality players like Joaquin and Elisieu. Malaga and Celtic are the only clubs in this years tournament to progress from the qualifying stages to the knockout stages.
Borrusia Dortmund
Home ground: westfalonstadion
Capacity: 80,000
Managed by Jurgen Klopp Dortmund have been on a bit of a renaissance recently having spent a few years trailing some of the other big names in German football by some way and are now current Bundesliga champions. Their local rivals are Schalke and they also have developed a rivalry with another club we could face Bayern Munich! Im sure this is a tie a lot of celts fans would want as both sets of fans have a reputation throughout Europe for their passion and atmosphere they bring to their games. They have developed a very good technical side rather than trying to buy big name players to bring success a lot like Celtic. A few notable players are Kevin Grosskreuts, Jacob Blazcycowsky and Robert Lewandowski. Celtics former captain Paul Lambert famously won the Champions League with Dortmund before his return to Scotland.
Juventus
Home ground: Juventus Stadium
Capacity: 41,000
Currently managed by Antonio Conte Juventus are current serie A champions and also currently top of their domestic league with a seven point lead. Much like Dortmund, Juventus are very much a club on the way back up to the top after a few years in the shadow of rival clubs. The old lady of Italian football is Italy’s most successful club and I’m sure some of us would like to draw them for a little revenge after Amoroso dived to win a penalty in Turin the last time we faced them, although we did get a little revenge in the return game a 4:3 thriller that will be remember for big Suttons volley!!
Bayern Munich
Home ground: Allianz Arena
Capacity: 71,137
Bayern are the 3rd German side we could be paired with and are currently managed by Juup Heynekes and are currently top of the Bundesliga. They were famously beaten by Chelsea at the Allianz arena in the champions league final last season so will be looking to make amends. The team is littered with big name stars like Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinstieger and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Bayern have won the big cup 4 times in their history including theee times in a row in 1974, ’75 and ’76 their last one coming in 2001 and are a side I’d like to avoid.
Manchester United
Home ground: Old Trafford
Capacity: 75,765
Last but not least is Man Utd. A side we all know well and would no doubt be a box office tie! Everyone loves a good old Battle of Britain don’t they! Utd currently top of the EPL leading big spenders and rivals Man City by six points. Having recently added Robin van Persie to their multi million pound squad they look very dangerous and are another I’d like to avoid purely for progressions sake but I’m sure our players would love to test themselves against the English giants who we had a couple of cracking games against the last time we met in the Champions League, Utd winning 3-2 down at old Trafford and Celtic winning 1-0 at Parkhead with Nakamuras stunning free kick and the holy goalies penalty save sending us into the last 16!
Can’t wait for the draw now after writing that! Still not sure who id like though I’m sure there will be a few teams out there hoping to avoid us as well. Lets hope our bhoys do us proud as they have done so far in the tournament.

@wee_lubo

Comments

  1. wl

    Great to read a post from you again. It seems ages.

    I have to say, there is little if anything to argue about in your summaries. My only difference would be my preferred choice, probably for all the wrong reasons. If I am honest, from what I have seen on T.V., and I agree these are only highlights and flimsy ones at that, there are only two clubs that I would “want to avoid”, if possible, Bayern and Man. U. Bayern, not because of the big-name players but because, at the moment they are playing strong, efficient and steady football from what I see and that is when teams are most dangerous. Similarly, Manchester United are winning regularly. Even when not at their best, like Bayern, they are churning out wins and when they are on form, they enter annihilation mode. All of the others, in my opinion anyway, are either up and coming, like Málaga CF, or in a state of re-juvenation like Juventus, Borrusia Dortmund, P.S.G. and CELTIC. For that reason, we should have no more fear of them than they should have of us. I guess it is a question of belief both among players and support. Each of these teams, on their day, are capable of beating the worlds greatest, witness our brilliant result against Barcelona and Málaga v Real Madrid, or under-performing against relatively mediocre opposition, witness some of the results in both teams’ domestic competitions. The two possible advantages that some of these teams have over Celtic are the cash available to spend, which ought not to be a realistic benefit at this stage in the competition, and, more effectually, they are, for the most part at least, much more experienced in the C.L. over the last few years.

    However, I must say I await Thursday with little trepidation and for two reasons. The first is simply that getting to the last sixteen has been a memorable feat in itself given our situation at the start of the campaign away back – WHEN? The style in which we achieved our current success was extraordinary. To have developed tactically to the extent that we could push Barcelona to the limit on one occasion and aside on another merited and received the admiration of Europe. To have reached the level we have with only a few coppers available for players is almost unique and is proving to the world that the disregard for home grown young footballers is criminal and renders true competition impossible. European football no longer pits one country’s talent against another but rather creates a platform for chequebook rivalry. However, this season’s C.L. has shown that money ‘doth not a football team make’. Though Chelsea and Manchester City might have bought domestic and European glory last season their money failed to produce the football levels necessary to reach even the last sixteen this year. So, why should I fear any of the hats in the ring? Realistically Celtic should have little chance against any of the teams in the draw given the money, individual talent and the experience that make up the ingredients in the mix. However, such was the case in August too, then September and October and into November. This Celtic team has already shown, on more than one occasion lately, that on our day, we are as good as anybody out there. Let us discuss the pros and cons. Let us way up our chances but let us never doubt that the Celtic hat is in as good trim and as polished on its day as any one of the others to be chosen to “fear” us this Thursday.

    H H

    1. Hi PB, totally agree with your reasons for not wanting to draw Bayern and Man U, I would add dortmund to the list as well though as they are a really good side who have had the nucleus of their team playing together for around 3/4 years now and they are VERY technically gifted. I only want to avoid teams to give us the best chance to go as far as possible, I know the barca result was massive an if we could progress further then that would definitely top it and if we did progress who knows what that could do to our young side confidence wise and the sky could be the limit! Look forward to Thursday and you can be sure there will be a few teams who want to avoid us as well. Hail hail.

    2. I’ve done quite a few blogs on here recently PB just search my name, just seen your post and hope you are well hail hail.

  2. wl

    Great to read a post from you again. It seems ages.

    I have to say, there is little if anything to argue about in your summaries. My only difference would be my preferred choice, probably for all the wrong reasons. If I am honest, from what I have seen on T.V., and I agree these are only highlights and flimsy ones at that, there are only two clubs that I would “want to avoid”, if possible, Bayern and Man. U. Bayern, not because of the big-name players but because, at the moment they are playing strong, efficient and steady football from what I see and that is when teams are most dangerous. Similarly, Manchester United are winning regularly. Even when not at their best, like Bayern, they are churning out wins and when they are on form, they enter annihilation mode. All of the others, in my opinion anyway, are either up and coming, like Málaga CF, or in a state of re-juvenation like Juventus, Borrusia Dortmund, P.S.G. and CELTIC. For that reason, we should have no more fear of them than they should have of us. I guess it is a question of belief both among players and support. Each of these teams, on their day, are capable of beating the worlds greatest, witness our brilliant result against Barcelona and Málaga v Real Madrid, or under-performing against relatively mediocre opposition, witness some of the results in both teams’ domestic competitions. The two possible advantages that some of these teams have over Celtic are the cash available to spend, which ought not to be a realistic benefit at this stage in the competition, and, more effectually, they are, for the most part at least, much more experienced in the C.L. over the last few years.

    However, I must say I await Thursday with little trepidation and for two reasons. The first is simply that getting to the last sixteen has been a memorable feat in itself given our situation at the start of the campaign away back – WHEN? The style in which we achieved our current success was extraordinary. To have developed tactically to the extent that we could push Barcelona to the limit on one occasion and aside on another merited and received the admiration of Europe. To have reached the level we have with only a few coppers available for players is almost unique and is proving to the world that the disregard for home grown young footballers is criminal and renders true competition impossible. European football no longer pits one country’s talent against another but rather creates a platform for chequebook rivalry. However, this season’s C.L. has shown that money ‘doth not a football team make’. Though Chelsea and Manchester City might have bought domestic and European glory last season their money failed to produce the football levels necessary to reach even the last sixteen this year. So, why should I fear any of the hats in the ring? Realistically Celtic should have little chance against any of the teams in the draw given the money, individual talent and the experience that make up the ingredients in the mix. However, such was the case in August too, then September and October and into November. This Celtic team has already shown, on more than one occasion lately, that on our day, we are as good as anybody out there. Let us discuss the pros and cons. Let us way up our chances but let us never doubt that the Celtic hat is in as good trim and as polished on its day as any one of the others to be chosen to “fear” us this Thursday.

    H H

    1. Hi PB, totally agree with your reasons for not wanting to draw Bayern and Man U, I would add dortmund to the list as well though as they are a really good side who have had the nucleus of their team playing together for around 3/4 years now and they are VERY technically gifted. I only want to avoid teams to give us the best chance to go as far as possible, I know the barca result was massive an if we could progress further then that would definitely top it and if we did progress who knows what that could do to our young side confidence wise and the sky could be the limit! Look forward to Thursday and you can be sure there will be a few teams who want to avoid us as well. Hail hail.

    2. I’ve done quite a few blogs on here recently PB just search my name, just seen your post and hope you are well hail hail.

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