Check out our analysis, team news, line-ups and see our prediction for this match.
With a healthy 2-0 lead from the first leg in Parkhead Celtic do the trip AZ Alkmaar for the second stage of theirs Europe League Playoff tie on Thursday night.
Kyogo Furuhashi‘s hit and an own goal by Timo Letschert put Celtic in the driver’s seat last week, and the Eredivisie outfit struggles to take inspiration from everywhere right now.
Prediction for this match
The start of the 2021/22 league season with a 1-0 loss to RKC Waalwijk was not exactly a success for AZ before their Europa League trip to Celtic, although the Dutch team would have almost drawn their first blood if it weren’t for the outstretched shoe from . been Joe Hart stay outside Vangelis Pavlidis.
Soon after, Furuhashi would make no mistake on the back stick when connecting to Tom Rogic‘s cross to shoot the opener into the roof of the net and the Japanese attacker would then move on James Forrest in the penalty area, whose attempt Letschert clearly steered into the net.
AZ had its moments at Celtic Park but now has everything to do on its own ground in the return leg and with the hosts without a win or goalless in the first two games of the season, morale is barely at an all-time high.
Pascal JansenThe side’s side have been trading in the Europa League group stage for the past two seasons and the Europa Conference League safety net is ready and waiting for AZ who have the unenviable task of trying to stop Ange Postecoglou‘s free flowing Celtic machine once again.
While Furuhashi’s happy start to life in Celtic colors has now been overshadowed by cases of racist abuse, Postecoglou’s protégé loves life in the field, as does the rest of the Bhoys’ motivated harvest during an outstanding period of victories.
Postecoglou faced numerous challenges and trust-shattering results early in his Celtic career, but he’s now overseen six straight wins in all competitions and his squad is determined to wrest the Premiership from the Rangers as they continue to dazzle and excite the attack front.
Having scored 24 goals in their winning streak in six games – a remarkable average of four per game – is a feat for Celtic and they warmed up for the second leg with an all-out 6-0 win over St. Mirren David Turnbull caught a hat trick while Liel Abada (two) and Odsonne Edouard got in too.
However, five of Celtic’s victories in his six-game green streak were at home – the only away win in that run was a 4-2 win over Jablonec in the earlier rounds of Europa League qualifying – but apart from one disaster in the second leg , a fifth appearance in the Europa League in a row in the group stage is certainly in sight.
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Attackers from AZ Alkmaar Jesper Karlsson is back from suspension and available for the second leg, but left-back Owen Wijndal is still struggling with a groin problem and may be forced to miss it.
The hosts have few other injury concerns and are unlikely to make many changes after their disappointing first leg, but returnee Karlsson is in the running for a replacement Zakaria Aboukhlal on the left flank.
Celtic defender Christopher Jullien remains on the sidelines after his severe knee injury and no schedule has been set for his recovery, while Postecoglou has admitted it too Karamoko Dembele‘s ankle problem is a “long-term” one.
The Bhoys will also be without the services of Mikey Johnston until after the international break, but Abada and Furuhashi have established themselves as the first choice for Postecoglou within a very short time.
Ryan Christie was fit enough to return against St. Mirren but will most likely make way for Rogic this week, while James Forrest is expected to return in time after being excluded from the squad over the weekend and the same can be said too James McCarthy.
AZ Alkmaar possible starting line-up:
Covered; Sugawara, Letschert, Martins Indi, Oosting; Koopmeiners, Midtsjo, De Wit; Gudmundsson, Pavlidis, Karlsson
Celtic possible starting line-up:
Hard; Ralston, Starfelt, Welsh, Taylor; McGregor, Turnbull, Rogic; Abada, Edouard, Furuhashi
Probability: AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Celtic (Celtic wins 4: 1 in the overall standings)
Celtic doesn’t have to sit back and hold on to what they have this week as their attacking skills and poor start to the season can be exploited from AZ.
The hosts had to pay for their failures in the first leg but are confident that they can score here, although Postecoglou’s formidable Celtic should have no problems making it into the group stage.
Best betting tip for this match
Our expert tipster partners at footpredictions.com predict a double chance bet on a home win or a draw in this game. Click here to see more football predictions to see what else they are predicting for this game and for more proven soccer tips.Home / Draw: data