After opening Champions League play this season with a 4-0 victory over Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona heads to Glasgow to battle with Celtic.
Barca—who lost a 2-1 stunner to Celtic last year—will have to beat the Hoops without Lionel Messi, who injured his thigh in the 2-0 Primera Division victory over Almeria on Saturday. Messi is expected to be out for two to three weeks, according to The Guardian.
Celtic is coming off a 2-0 loss to AC Milan in Group H play. The Hoops will need to get their offense back in gear if they expect to defeat Barca on Tuesday, even with Messi being off the pitch.
Here's a look at the Group H clash in each club's second Champions League match of the season.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: Celtic Park, Scotland
Watch: ITV Anglia, STV, stv.tv/sport
Betting Line (via TopBet.eu): Barcelona -1 (-115)
Top Storyline: Lionel Messi's Injury
Obviously, the absence of Lionel Messi makes the prospects of Celtic stunning Barcelona again at least a little more believable.
Hoops manager Neil Lennon said before the match, via ESPN FC:
It is obviously very good news for us because he is the best player in the world.
However, it is tinged with sadness because it is always fantastic to see the great players play here in Glasgow.
Messi scored three goals in just six attempts (four on goal) against Ajax to begin Champions League play, as if anyone needed any more proof of his importance to the Catalan giants. Beyond his play in the Champions League, he has also notched eight goals and three assists in six La Liga starts this season.
In the 2-0 loss to AC Milan, Celtic allowed Milan to rack up 22 shots, including seven attempts on goal, per ESPN FC. Milan held possession for 56 percent of the match. The Hoops will not only have to be stronger on offense, they will also have to be stronger on the back end to have a shot at defeating Barca.
Prediction: Barcelona 3, Celtic 1
Barcelona may be without Messi in this clash, but this club is more than just one man.
Pedro has scored five goals in the La Liga campaign, while Adriano, Dani Alves and Alexis Sanchez have each chipped in two goals apiece. Barcelona doesn't lead La Liga with 24 goals just because of Messi.
While the Catalan giants haven't stirred the pot by claiming this match is about revenge, it also would be ignorant to completely dismiss the idea. No world power likes to be upset, and Barca is no different.
I expect Barcelona to show the world what it's made of on Tuesday, proving that this club is powerful in its own right, even without the top football player in the world.
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