The original meeting between these two teams in Glasgow remains one of the best matches in Europe this season. The clubs traded goals scoring six in total by the 55th minute - each time Celtic managed to go ahead, City answered within 10 minutes. Celtic Park was raucous as the home side put in a performance to avenge a 7-0 defeat to Barcelona in their prior UCL match. Now with the group decided, City will finish second and Celtic fourth, the return fixture has much less at stake. It’ll be the last of Celtic’s participation in Europe this season and they’ll visit a City side coming off a painful 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea in which Pep was out-coached and City came unhinged. City’s top priority will be to regain a sense of control after winning only two of their last five matches across competitions. While a draw or loss would have no bearing on their standing in the competition, an assured display would help calm nerves in Manchester.
While City have blossomed into one of the top teams in England, European glory has continued to be frustratingly out of their grasp. To that end, the Citizens finally got their man, Pep Guardiola. His mandate is clear - win Manchester City’s first ever Champions League trophy. Pep has made his mark early - banishing Joe Hart to Turin in favor of Claudio Bravo, calling in midfield reinforcements from the Bundesliga in İlkay Gündoğan and Leroy Sane, and strengthening in attack with Nolito. If Sergio Aguero can remain healthy, there can be no excuses for not making a confident run toward the final this year.
By beating Israeli side Hapoel Be'er Sheva in their playoff, Celtic are back in the group stage after missing out for two straight years. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers began to put his stamp on the club by signing former Fulham hot prospect Moussa Dembele, despite interest from various EPL clubs, along with EPL journeyman Scott Sinclair and two time Premier League winning defender, Kolo Toure. Striker Leigh Griffiths will again lead the line after scoring 40 goals in all competitions last season. After having a few comfortable years in the Scottish Premier League without rivals Rangers, proving themselves in the Champions League is necessary to be seen as more than just a big fish in a very small pond.
Had the best goals-per-minute ratio in the EPL last season.
The unheralded midfielder is crucial in breaking up attacks box-to-box.