Barcelona vs. Celtic: Critical Last-Minute Info for UEFA Champions League Clash

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Neymar (L) of FC Barcelona shakes hand with his teammate Pedro Rodriguez during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granda CF at Camp Nou on November 23, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Spanish champions Barcelona will host underdogs Celtic on Wednesday evening at Camp Nou in the Champions League group stage finale.

Neymar and company have already secured a berth in the Round of 16, but Wednesday's match could determine whether the Catalan giants advance as Group H winners or runners-up. Meanwhile, Neil Lennon's Celtic side have already been eliminated after dropping four of their first five matches.

Nonetheless, Gerardo Martino's starting XI are sure come out firing and looking to stun their overmatched opponents.

With kickoff fast approaching, let's get you ready with every piece of critical information you'll need ahead of Wednesday's Group H finale. 

When: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. GMT

Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona

Watch: Fox Sports (U.S.), Sky Sports (U.K.)

Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.), Sky Sports Events Centre (U.K.)

 

Last-Minute Match Forecast*

Barcelona: 83.1 percent

Celtic: 3.7 percent

Draw: 13.2 percent

*Odds according to Bloomberg Sports.

 

Group H Breakdown

Champions League Group H
Pos.TeamGPWDLGDPts
1Barcelona5311610
2AC Milan522138
3Ajax Amsterdam5212-37
4Celtic5104-63
ESPN FC

Regardless of how Celtic fare on Wednesday, the Scottish Premiership champions are headed home early. However, Barcelona can drop from No. 1 in Group H to No. 2 if they lose and Milan beat Ajax at the San Siro.

A draw or win versus the Hoops would see Barca through to the knockout stage as Group H winners. 

The odds are definitely in the home team's favor on Wednesday, though. Barcelona have scored five times as many goals as Celtic through five games in Group H and have conceded just once in two Champions League home games. 

On top of that, Celtic have yet to score a single goal in two previous Group H away matches.

 

Revisiting Match No. 1

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Giorgos Samaras of Celtic holds off Pedro of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Celtic and FC Barcelona at Celtic Park Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitche
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Although Barcelona won the first meeting with Celtic by only one goal, it would be fair to say that the European powerhouse put on a passing clinic at Celtic Park.

A Lionel Messi-less Barca squad retained the ball for 82 percent of the match and outshot their opponents 13-5 in the 1-0 victory. Cesc Fabregas scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute, but it was Neymar who earned Man of the Match honors after recording five shots and completing nearly 90 percent of his passes.

According to WhoScored.com, Barca fired two more shots from inside Celtic's 18-yard box than the Hoops had all together. But that isn't an overwhelming number considering the Hoops played the final 30-plus minutes a man down after Scott Brown was sent off with a red card.

Martino knows his side will need to be better in order to prevail on Wednesday, per ESPN FC:

This is an important game in all aspects - we have to finish top, we have to win and put in a good performance. For us, every game is tough and each one has consequences.

We have to be accurate and fast in our build-up and in moving the ball around. We'll be playing in a 30-yard strip of pitch and we need to keep up the pressing too to stop Celtic hitting us on the break.

Barca will have to execute Martino's game plan without Messi, Fabregas, Victor Valdes or Dani Alves on Wednesday, though, as all four are set to miss the match because of injury or suspension

 

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