Preview: Real Madrid vs. Celtic

Group leaders Real Madrid welcome already-eliminated Celtic to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, looking to seal top spot in Group F with a win.

Los Blancos lost their first competitive game since April as they fell to RB Leipzig last Tuesday, and also stumbled to Girona on the weekend in LaLiga, while their Scottish visitors won comfortably at Livingston after their Champions League fate was confirmed in midweek.

It is not often that we see Carlo Ancelotti quite as animated as he was after the final whistle on Sunday afternoon, as his Real Madrid side dropped points for just the second time this season in LaLiga, following a dramatic 1-1 draw with Girona.

Vinicius Junior had given the defending champions the lead on 70 minutes after he bundled home a Federico Valverde cross, before a controversially-awarded penalty allowed Cristhian Stuani to draw the newly-promoted side level just 10 minutes later.

Los Blancos then had a goal disallowed in the dying moments, as Rodrygo was adjudged to have kicked the ball from Paulo Gazzaniga’s hands, before Toni Kroos received the first red card of his career to cap off a frustrating night for the league leaders.

The result now leaves Real Madrid one point ahead of Barcelona at the top of the standings, just five days after their 20-game unbeaten streak across all competitions came tumbling in Leipzig.

With top spot still to guarantee in the group, and with incentive to bounce back from a mini-slump, expect to see a professional performance from the hosts, as they welcome the 52-time Scottish champions to the Spanish capital.

While Celtic’s Champions League campaign is mathematically over, after a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk sealed their place at the bottom of Group F last Tuesday, Ange Postecoglou’s side continue to look imperious in the league, as they made it 10 wins from 11 in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.

Maintaining their four-point lead over Rangers at the top of the table, the Hoops strolled to a 3-0 win over Livingston, as Kyogo Furuhashi scored his eighth goal in 10 league appearances with an emphatic, left-footed finish.

Portuguese winger Jota also marked his return from injury with a strike of his own, to record his 11th goal contribution in 13 appearances across all competitions this season.

There might be little to play for, but a trip to Madrid remains quite the occasion for Celtic, who will be relishing the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with European royalty at one of the most iconic stadiums in world football.

While a result is unlikely, given Los Blancos’ three-goal triumph at Celtic Park last month, Postecoglu’s men will be up for the fight, and will look to take Real Madrid all the way in their first visit to the Santiago Bernabeu for more than 40 years.

Real Madrid Champions League form:
Real Madrid form (all competitions):
Celtic Champions League form:
Celtic form (all competitions):

We say: Real Madrid 2-0 Celtic
After a slight blip from Ancelotti’s men, we expect a professional performance here to get the job done in the Champions League.

Los Blancos need a win to secure top spot, while Celtic are playing for nothing but pride, so we can see a solid, if unspectacular, win for the talent-stacked hosts.

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