CELTIC could be Head Bhoys when they take on Bayer Leverkusen in their crucial Europa League Group G encounter at the BayArena tomorrow night.

Ange Postecoglou has already declared the Hoops will be on the front foot for a contest that will go a long way to their fate in the competition.

A good result in Germany while Real Betis take on Ferencvaros at the same time could conjure up a winner-takes-all confrontation against the Spaniards in the east end of Glasgow on Thursday December 9.

Former Parkhead right-back Andreas Hinkel insists confidence may be the deciding factor once the smoke of battle clears from the second meeting of the teams in two months with the visitors running out 4-0 winners in the first head to head.

HOOPS’ HOPE…German star Andreas Hinkel is action for Celtic.

History does not favour Postecoglou’s men who have failed to win in their past 12 visits to Germany, their best efforts being draws with Werder Bremen, SV Hamburg and Borussia Monchengladbach.

The hosts have stuttered since their September victory while Celtic have won eight and drawn one of their nine games since that loss.

Victory over Bochum at the weekend was just the German’s third in their nine matches, a sequence which includes a 5-1 hammering from Bayern Munich.

Hinkel, who spent three and a half years at Celtic after arriving from Sevilla in January 2008, said: “Bayer Leverkusen are a very good team as you could see in that in the first game in Glasgow.

EURO STAR…Ange Postecoglou celebrates full-time after Celtic’s 2-0 win over Ferencvaros in October.

“But that was a few weeks ago and I’m not sure they are having their best period at the moment. When you see the last eight games, they only won two of them.

“There was a very tough loss to Bayern Munich which was hard for them and a couple more bad results followed.

“Of course, they have great qualities, but sometimes there are moments in a season. I can see that Celtic, after the defeat to Leverkusen, have won every game except one.

“Sometimes football is in the head and, at this moment, it might be that Celtic has just a little bit more self confidence.

“They could be stronger in the head at this time. It is natural to say that, due to the quality of the Leverkusen players, they are the favourites to win the match because they are also at home.

“But the head is important. Always during a season, Leverkusen can have periods when they are not strong or consistent.

“They always have a good team with good players playing counter attack, but at the moment, it’s not that bad a time to face them.”

JOY BHOYS…Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada celebrates the Japanese striker’s opening goal in the 3-2 win over Ferencvaros in Budapest earlier this month.

Hinkel, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I’ve not seen the games, just the results. But it seems Celtic are getting better and maybe used more and more to the new manager. The philosophy.

“The results are showing they are in a better period than when they last played against Leverkusen.

“If it is still the case they haven’t won any game in Germany, I didn’t realise that.

“But there is always a first time to do something special.

“You have to say all of the statistics point in the direction of Leverkusen.

“But I am always optimistic and always positive about things, so maybe this is the time for Celtic to make that history.

“They can maybe surprise the people. It is always interesting when no-one is counting on you or thinking you will win a game.

“But I think there is a chance because of the things I have said before. Celtic may have more self confidence at the moment.

“I would like to see a Celtic win.”


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