Reigning Italian Serie A champions Juventus will visit Glasgow on Tuesday Feb. 12 to take on Scottish champions Celtic in a round-of-16 European Champions League showdown. The match will take place at Celtic Park and it’ll be the fifth time the two clubs have met each other throughout the years and the first time since back in 2001 when Celtic upset the Italian side by a score of 4-3.
Celtic has already pulled off one of the upsets of the annual tournament by beating Barcelona 2-1 at home in the group stages. In fact, it was such an unexpected result that it brought Celtic’s most famous supporter Rod Stewart to tears. While the Scottish side may not be the most talented in the competition their fans are second to none and often act as a 12th man. It’s the club’s first time in the knockout stages of the Champions League for five years and they’re hoping to make the best of it.
Juventus will have to deal with the atmosphere at the ground and try to put it in the back of their minds and stick to football. Some players actually feel the opposing crowd motivates them and others are sometimes put off of their games by it. Juventus will need to feed off of the fan frenzy to help motivate them.
Celtic, who sits on top of the Scottish Premier Division, is coming off of a 3-1 away win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on the weekend and manager Neil Lennon rested most of his top players by making 10 team changes for the match. This is a two-legged tie though, so whatever happens in the first match in Glasgow won’t guarantee anything for the winning team. Of course, both managers would like to head back to Italy with the lead though.
Juventus, who lead the Serie-A by five points at the moment, are coming off of a 2-0 win over Fiorentina on the weekend. Manager Antonio Conte knows his team faces a tough task in Scotland on Tuesday and is hoping that recently-signed striker Nicolas Anelka will be able to provide some added depth to the side’s attack.
Anelka said all of the pressure is on Juventus since Celtic isn’t really expected to go far in the tournament and this will allow Celtic to play a more relaxed and effective style of football. Juventus should have Kwadwo Asamoah in the lineup as the Ghanaian midfielder has returned from the African Nations Cup in South Africa. However, it looks like defender Paolo De Ceglie will miss the match with a thigh problem.
Celtic will probably be without the services of Nigeria Efe Ambrose as his country won the African Nations Cup and he’s unlikely to be back in Glasgow on time and ready to play. However, Lennon said it’s still possible that he might participate in the match, but if he does, he’ll likely start on the bench.
Celtic has some good talent in the likes of goalkeeper Fraser Forster and forwards Giorgos Samaras and Gary Hooper, while Juventus’ best players at the moment are keeper Gianluigi, defender Leonardo Bonucci, midfielders Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo as well as Kwadwo Asamoah and Mirko Vucinic.
Predictions for Celtic v Juventus
This should be an interesting match and Juventus will probably be satisfied to go back to Italy with a draw, and that’s a likely scenario.
William Hill has the latest odds of a Celtic win at 7/2 with a Juventus victory at 5/6 and a draw at 12/5.