Celtic target extended Euro run as Champions League campaign begins

6 days ago 17
Venue: De Kuip, Rotterdam Date: Tuesday, 19 September Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland Extra/DAB/810MW, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

Brendan Rodgers believes "anything is possible" as Celtic embark on another Champions League campaign, starting with Feyenoord away on Tuesday.

The manager believes his side have shown already this season that their "spirit will never be broken".

And Rodgers is targeting being in Europe after Christmas.

"That's what our aim is," he said. "Whatever competition that is in, as long as we're in Europe after Christmas, that is our aim."

Rodgers conceded "we are not at peak Celtic" and "we've got a long way to go before I think we'll be where I'm happy, where I want us to be."

Ange Postecoglou's Celtic took two points from their group stage campaign in last season's competition and the side picked up three points in both of the campaigns Rodgers had during his first spell with Celtic.

The former Leicester manager explained the key difference at this level is the speed of the game and the quality of opposition.

In response to Celtic's long-term record of poor results in the Champions League, he said: "For us what we can promise is that we'll fight in every single game. We want to compete, we want to be competitive and that is all I can promise.

"I can promise no more than that. If we can produce that level of work ethic and the quality that we do have, then I think we can cause teams problems. That will be our aim."

Team news

Nat Phillips is an injury doubt with an ankle problem while fellow defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki, Stephen Welsh and Yuki Kobayashi and wingers Liel Abada and Marco Tilio are out.

What they said

Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot: "I admire them as a team, first of all because they play football, which I like to see. They did so last season as well under the former coach.

"Brendan Rodgers did a very good job at Leicester City, reached the semi-finals of the Conference League with football everybody enjoys watching. It was a joy to watch Celtic last season.

"We will defend [Kyogo Furuhashi] the best way we can. We will inform our defenders of his qualities and not his injury."

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart: It's an amazing competition. One that you grow up watching, you grow up enjoying. I can only talk from being a young guy watching the Champions League being excited with the music, that doesn't change. I'm still that kid, I'm still a human being as we all are, I'm sure it's the same for a fan.

"They're special nights, the football seems to change, the speed of the game is electric and the hype is real. It definitely lives up to it, the competition every year, there's amazing football being played.

"It means everything. I feel like I should be here, I love being here, love being part of the team that I'm a part of and can't wait to hopefully take it on tomorrow night."

Choose your starting XI. It's up to you how to approach it - you could go for the team you WANT the manager to pick or the one you THINK he will.

Match stats

Tuesday will be Feyenoord and Celtic's first competitive meeting since the Dutch side triumphed in their 1970 European Cup final meeting.In all, Celtic have faced Dutch opposition on 17 occasions in European competition, winning eight times.Celtic's last games against a team from the Netherlands came in a 2021 Europa League play-off tie, which they won 3-2 on aggregate.Feyenoord, like Celtic, enter the Champions League at the group stage as domestic champions.The Rotterdam side won one and lost five of their games in their last Champions League group stage campaign in 2017.Last term, Feyenoord reached the Europa League quarter-finals.

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