Celtic’s opening Europa League group stage game of the season against Real Betis was a brilliant one despite the Hoops losing out 4-3 away in Seville. And Ange Postecoglou’s team showed enough on that occasion to suggest that they can definitely compete with the La Liga side.
Of course, Celtic would go on to lose the following game 4-0 against Bayer Leverkusen but have kept their knockout stage hopes alive with a 2-0 win against Ferencvaros in the third game of their group stage campaign.
Bayer Leverkusen are pretty much considered the favourites to top the group and Real Betis have back-to-back games against them. Thus, these two matches could prove to be vital and possibly open up the group depending on what Celtic do in their away game against Ferencvaros.
Manuel Pellegrini seems to believe that the group is very much open and Celtic could end up topping it. As reported by Diario de Sevilla, the Real Betis manager said ahead of their game against Bayer Leverkusen:
“Celtic can get on top. Hopefully we will add the three points and that is what we will try to do from the first minute.”
Celtic can still top their Europa League group but it will be very difficult
Of course, mathematically, it is still possible for Celtic to top their Europa League group0 but it will depend on a lot of ifs.
If Celtic manage to win their upcoming game against Ferencvaros and if either Bayer Leverkusen or Real Betis lose both of their games against each other then Ange Postecoglou’s side will be guaranteed to finish at least second in the group if they win their remaining two games.
Of course, if they had to pick one of the two, it would be Real Betis that they would want to lose both the games against Bayer Leverkusen. Firstly because they have a home game in hand against the Spanish side.
Secondly because it would be much easier to turn around the 4-3 scoreline against them than the 4-0 against Bayer Leverkusen. And finally, because out of the two, Bayer Leverkusen just appear to be the more difficult side to beat.
This article was originally posted here