Although there was lots to be positive about after Tuesday’s performance against the European champions, as we left the ground, many of us could see that an unfortunate series events were about to unfold.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s incredible 1-4 over Leipzig in Germany, following on from Leipzig’s 4-0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, was always going to result in the reaction it did. Leipzig sacked manager Domenico Tedesco yesterday morning and appointed Marco Rose in his place. It is inconceivable that Leipzig will not experience a Dead Cat Bounce, at the very least.
Rose, as Borussia Dortmund manager, was in charge of one of several fancied teams knocked out of Europe by Newco last season. They finished second in the Bundesliga but he was sacked in May. It was at Salzburg where Rose made his name. In his two seasons there he won the league, never lost a home game and reached the semi-final and quarter-final stages of the Europa League. Salzburg also beat Celtic home and away in 2018 under his control.
We always suspected Real were beyond our reach, but we now know that Shakhtar was not a ‘gimmie’ and have already picked up three points on the road. Leipzig will remain a weak second seed, but not as weak as they were on Tuesday.
A year ago, Celtic offloaded Shakhtar’s new signing and two-goal hero on Tuesday, Marian Shved. We almost certainly did not see the best of Shved, but I suspect that Shakhtar fans have seen an unsustainably high level of output from him. Their stats against Leipzig suggest it was a freak result: five attempts, four of them on target, all of which went in the net, from 32% possession.
As it stands, the group is wide open, but Celtic have ground to make up, either by matching Shakhtar’s away win in Germany, or beating the Ukrainian’s in Warsaw on Wednesday. It is a difficult task, but why else do we want to be in the Champions League?
Giovanni van Bronkhorst suggested it was “Too much to ask” for Newco to compete with Ajax and Liverpool in the Champions League. I wonder if that phrase was part of the £60/basic seat ticket campaign.
“What Celtic fans want to know [Gio], is where is all the Seville money?”, to coin a phrase that started a blog a long time ago.
We’ll pick up on that topic later.