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Bodo/Glimt vs Celtic: Europa Conference League preview – Prediction, team news, line-ups

Celtic will hope to turn the tables on Bodo/Glimt when the two sides meet at the Arctic Circle in Thursday’s Europa Conference League decider.

The current Scottish Premiership leaders have a mammoth task on their hands in Norway after falling to a dismal 3-1 first-leg defeat at home. 

Despite not featuring in competitive action for over two months, Bodo/Glimt stunned Parkhead last week to bolster their hopes of maintaining their longest-ever run in European competition.

Match Preview

Runar Espejord, Amahl Pellegrino and Hugo Vetlesen were on the scoresheet for the Norwegians in Glasgow, while Daizen Maeda scored the consolation goal for the home side. 

Despite lacking competitive form, Bodo/Glimt will call upon their mesmerising Europa Conference League campaign so far, having gone unbeaten through the entire group stage in the autumn. 

A record of three wins and three draws proved enough only for a runners-up finish behind Group C winners Roma, who they thrashed 6-1 on Matchday 3.

The Superlaget’s first-ever foray into the European competition knockout stage got off to a flying start, and they will now aim to build on their 100% win ratio in UEFA two-legged ties after a first-leg success. 

Even though they are relatively new to continental football, Bodo/Glimt have been a force to be reckoned with at home, losing just one of their 11 European home fixtures in the 21st century (W9, D1).

They have won all six Europa Conference League matches at the Arctic Circle this season, scoring a staggering 17 goals while conceding just two in return, qualifying included.

That is not what Celtic want to hear, especially after losing four of their six away matches in European action this season (W2) and conceding 15 goals across those contests.

Moreover, the Hoops had gone nine consecutive springtime European away games without scoring (D1, L8) before holding FC Copenhagen to a 1-1 draw in their 2019/20 Europa League last-32 tie. 

The signs are ominous for the Scottish heavyweights, who have come back to win a UEFA two-legged tie after losing the first leg at home just once in their eight previous attempts. 

But there is a silver lining for Ange Postecoglou and his men here as they head into this fixture on a run of nine successive away matches without losing across all competitions (W8, D1). 

They have notably scored 2+ goals in each of those eight victories, which could be sufficient to get them to extra-time, provided they manage to keep things tight at the back. 

Team News

Bodo/Glimt manager Kjetil Knutsen will have all of his first-team stars that made light work of Celtic in the first leg fit and firing for the rematch. 

Knutsen will likely field the identical starting XI that ran riot at Parkhead last week, including in-form forward Pellegrino, who has three goals and two assists in the competition this term.

Postecoglou will have to take a riskier approach to overturn a two-goal deficit, which may see Georgios Giakoumakis return to the starting line-up.

The Greek striker started the first leg on the bench, surrendering his starting berth to eventual goalscorer Maeda.

However, Giakoumakis’ match-winning performance against Dundee at the weekend, which included a stellar hat-trick, should earn him a start.

But without Albian Ajeti, David Turnbull and Kyogo Furuhashi, Celtic will be heading to Norway wounded in the attacking third. 

Bodo/Glimt Potential Starting XI:

(4-3-3): Nikita Kyahkin; Alfons Sampsted, Marius Hoibraten, Brede Moe, Brice Wembangomo; Ulrik Saltnes, Hugo Veltsen, Elias Hagen; Amahl Pellegrino, Ola Solbakken, Runar Espejord.

Celtic Potential Starting XI:

(4-3-3): Joe Hart, Greg Taylor, Carl Starfelt, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Josip Juranovic; Tom Rogic, Callum McGregor, James McCarthy; Jota; Liel Abada, Georgios Giakoumakis.

Prediction

Celtic will need a bit of luck to pull off a comeback, and imposing their tempo right from the outset could be of the essence. 

Luckily for Postecoglou, his men have developed a habit of delivering the goods from the get-go this season, scoring the opening goal in 21 of their 27 league matches.

But expecting Bodo/Glimt to drop back and defend their lead would be unreasonable, especially considering their outstanding scoring exploits in Europe this term.

Bodo/Glimt 2-2 Celtic.

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