Celtic vs Bayer Leverkusen preview: Injury boost for Celtic

Team news and stats ahead of Celtic vs Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League group stage on Thursday; kick-off 8pm.

Team news

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou revealed that James McCarthy has shrugged off a knock while skipper Callum McGregor, Kyogo Furuhashi and Giorgos Giakoumakis – yet to make his debut – all trained on Wednesday after recovering from their various injuries.

Although there is “zero possibility” the latter three would start, Postecoglou, who has a league trip to Aberdeen on Sunday before the international break, said: “Is there a possibility they will get some game time tomorrow?

“Yes, there is but I have to be careful – see how they feel. I am keen to get them some game time before the international break.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Dundee United

Karamoko Dembele, Christopher Jullien, Greg Taylor and James Forrest all remain unavailable.

Bayer Leverkusen also have several injury concerns. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Julian Baumgartlinger, Edmond Tapsoba, Exequiel Palacios and Niklas Lomb are all set to be sidelined. However, Robert Andrich – who is currently serving a domestic suspension – will be available to start.

How the follow

Follow the game with our dedicated live blog across Sky Sports’ digital platforms on Thursday

Opta stats

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou hits out at what he feels is a condescending line of questioning regarding his understanding of the demands at the club after four defeats in the club’s last seven games

  • This will be the first meeting between Celtic and Bayer Leverkusen in European competition. Leverkusen will be the 10th different German side that Celtic have faced in Europe, while Leverkusen’s four meetings with Scottish opponents to date have all been against Rangers (W2 D1 L1).
  • Celtic have won just four of their 24 matches against German opponents in European competition (D5 L15), although all four of those wins came in home matches, including last time out against RB Leipzig in this competition in 2018-19.
  • When Bayer Leverkusen last faced Scottish opponents in the UEFA Europa League they defeated Rangers home and away at the Last 16 stage of the 2019-20 edition, winning 3-1 in Scotland.
  • Celtic have lost 10 of their last 17 home matches in major European competition (W7) since drawing 3-3 with Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League in 2016-17. Their previous 10 such defeats at this level were spread across 50 matches.
  • Bayer Leverkusen have won five of their last seven away matches in major European competition, although they did lose their last such match against Young Boys in the Last 32 of the UEFA Europa League last season.

When are the Europa League group stage games?

Matchday 2: September 30 2021

Matchday 3: October 21 2021

Matchday 4: November 4 2021

Matchday 5: November 25 2021

Matchday 6: December 9 2021

All the key Europa League dates

Round of 16: March 10 & 17 2022

Quarter-finals: April 7 & 14 2022

Semi-finals: April 28 & May 5 2022

Final: May 18 2022 (Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Seville)