Champions League action returns this evening as the Third Qualifying Round Second Leg ties take place across Europe, for the clubs who are in this phase of the competition they are just three matches away from the promised land of the Group Stages.
Tonight sees Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side travel to Norway to face Tippeligean champions Rosenborg in an encounter which is very evenly poised after a first leg stalemate at Celtic Park last week. The first leg did not offer too much in terms of attacking action and the Scottish treble winners will have to offer more going forward tonight.
The reason they caused little threat to Rosenborg last week would have been due to them lacking anything in the way of an attacking focal point as both Ousmane Dembele and Leigh Griffiths missed the game with Tom Rogic leading the line instead.
The Australian did an admirable job leading the line but it was not one that necessarily caused the Norwegian’s all that much trouble and in fairness it was the visiting side that had the bulk of what little chances there were in the opening leg.
Thankfully though for Celtic boss Rodgers the forward situation will be slightly alleviated as Scotland international Leigh Griffiths is set to play a part in tonight’s encounter after missing the opening fixture through suspension, whether he starts remains to be seen as he has been carrying a calf injury but he will no doubt be a welcome presence up front.
Unfortunately there is no return for Ousamne Dembele who is still out injured but Erik Sviatchenko has traveled to Norway after missing the first leg. The Danish defender will be charged with making sure Rosenborg get little joy going forward as his teammates will go off in search of a vital away goal.
Celtic know that a draw will get them through in 90 minutes – the caveat being as long as it is not a 0-0 draw, otherwise the prospect of Extra Time and Penalties will loom large. If that is the case then the advantage may be with Rosenborg who are in the middle of their Norwegian season.
To be honest I think there will be at least one goal tonight therefore avoiding that scenario and the advantage is arguably with Celtic after their first leg clean sheet. If they can show more prowess in the final third they may well have enough just to edge this one. I think it will be a draw which sees The Hoops progress on away goals.