Ange Postecoglou has enjoyed the perfect preparation ahead of a Champions League visit from Real Madrid, with his Celtic side thrashing cross-town rivals Rangers 4-0 in the first Old Firm derby of the season. The Spanish giants head to Celtic Park on Wednesday morning (AEDT) as this year’s European Champions League gets underway. The 14-times European champions will likely face an extraordinary atmosphere at Celtic Park, which will be buoyed after witnessing a comprehensive victory over their most bitter rivals. Former Scotland striker James McFadden said on the UK’s Sky Sports that “Celtic are just incredible to watch” and Postecoglou’s side certainly entertained as they shrugged aside their biggest domestic rivals and only genuine challengers to the title they won so convincingly last year.
Real Madrid begins their quest to repeat as Champions League winners against Celtic. Both teams stand atop their respective domestic leagues and have not lost a game yet this season. Celtic won their first five games in the Scottish Premiership and already boast a blistering +20 goal differential. These sides have only faced off twice in Champions League history, with each side winning one leg of a quarterfinal stage matchup in the 1979/1980 season. Real Madrid would go on to win by an aggregate score of 3-2 and advance to the semifinals. Celtic should not go overlooked in this matchup just because they are playing against one of the powerhouses of European football. They are dominating the Scottish Premiership right now and have the offensive prowess to cause problems for any backline.
Kyogo Furuhashi is picking up right where he left off last season for Celtic, scoring six goals in the club’s first five games. He tallied eight goals in 15 games last season after joining from Japanese side Vissel Kobe. Furuhashi is linking up well with fellow countryman Daizen Maeda, who is tied for the league lead in assists (4) with Celtic’s other winger Jota to start the season. The 2021-2022 Scottish Premiership player of the year Callum McGregor is another player to watch out for, as he is the key piece of the team’s midfield for linking play between the offense and defense. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are returning almost the same squad that won the Champions League last season, with only a couple of changes. They sold Casemiro to Manchester United, but had already signed his midfield replacement in Aurélien Tchouaméni. Madrid also added Antonio Rüdiger to the backline, but their main attacking core is still intact. The Madridistas conceded in their first three La Liga contests this season, so their defense can be exposed.
Celtic have a massive game this week. It’s a match supporters have been looking forward to for a long time, the eyes of the world will be watching and a victory would be monumental And it’s not today’s derby. Real Madrid on Tuesday night is by far the more important clash this coming week as far as I am concerned. Listen, I’ve played in enough derbies to know what is at stake and know how much it means to people. But I believe Real is bigger. I really do. Ask yourselves this. Who would you rather beat this week, Rangers or Real Madrid? Which result would go down in history? It’s a no brainer. Victory against Rangers today would be good but it’s not going to decide the league by a long stretch. Sure, Celtic going five points clear at the top would be an early advantage, but there’s a heck of a long way to go regardless. I know the title could come down to a point here or there but it won’t hinge on this weekend.
For most clubs, beating the Rangers 4-0 would be the highlight of the season, but Celtic arguably have an even bigger game coming up in just a few days. The Hoops will mark their return to the Champions League in the grandest way possible by welcoming 14-time European champions and current holders, Real Madrid, to Parkhead. Games of these magnitude do not come around too often and it is an opportunity for Celtic to create some more special memories in Europe, ten years after they got the better of the legendary Barcelona side that boasted the like of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and several more all-time greats. The 4-0 win over the Rangers will surely give Celtic confidence heading into the game against Real Madrid, who have also won all their league games this season till now. Postecoglou certainly seems to be confident in his side. As reported by 67 Hail Hail, when asked by BBC Radio Scotland whether Celtic can win the upcoming fixture following the dominant Glasgow Derby victory, Postecoglou said: