Celtic should not be overlooked. Their home ground provides one of the best atmospheres in all of Europe on big Champions League nights, and Real Madrid (as well as Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan) has not been great there historically. Real Madrid lost there 2 - 0 in the Champions League quarter-finals in 1980 (but still advanced 3 -2 on aggregate); while Ancelotti went winless there in three games while managing AC Milan.
Celtic have also been on fire this season. They’ve scored 29 goals in seven games so far, and sit comfortably on top of their domestic league with 25 goals scored and one goal conceded. They most recently waxed rivals Rangers 4 - 0.
Yeesh. Celtic are the '15-16 Warriors of the Scottish League.. pic.twitter.com/hQJ5WU0wot— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) September 6, 2022
It remains to be seen whether or not forward Kyogo Furuhashi will be ready for this match or not, as he came off injured this weekend vs Rangers. If he can’t play, Giorgos Giakoumakis will likely start.
For Real Madrid, winning would make a strong statement tonight. The opponent is strong and the ground is difficult to play in for opposing teams. Real have also not been that convincing in group stages even when they win the Champions League, so getting off to a good start and securing qualification as early as possible in this group would be important.
The biggest question marks in Real Madrid’s XI will be: Will Rodrygo Goes or Fede Valverde start on the right wing? Will Antonio Rudiger start in Carlo’s best XI? It will be interesting to see how that shapes out.