Preview: Celtic vs. FK Baumit Jablonec

Preview: Celtic vs. FK Baumit Jablonec

Celtic will be looking to make it three wins from three in all competitions when they take on FK Baumit Jablonec in the second leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier on Thursday.

The Hoops take a two-goal advantage into the clash at Parkhead, with a playoff tie in the next round against AZ Alkmaar awaiting the winner.

Ange Postecoglou is now beginning to enjoy life as Celtic boss after a successful week both domestically and in Europe, with his side winning two games and scoring 10 goals in the process.

The Hoops won the first leg of their Europa League qualifier 4-2 in the Czech Republic last Thursday, before claiming an emphatic 6-0 victory at home against Dundee in the Scottish Premiership.

Summer signing Kyogo Furuhashi, who scored against Jablonec last week, also scored a hat-trick against the Dark Blues on his home debut in front of 24,500 jubilant Celtic supporters. Tom Rogic, Anthony Ralston and Odsonne Edouard were also on the scoresheet at Parkhead, to help the Hoops claim their first league win of the new campaign.

Postecoglou hailed an “incredible” debut for his new Japanese addition, but was just as impressed with the forward’s work ethic and defensive efforts as much as his clinical finishing in front of goal.

Celtic now switch their focus back to their European tie, which they can take plenty of confidence into, knowing that even a defeat by a one-goal margin would still see them progress to the next round.

However, Postecoglou will want his players to build momentum and to not take their foot off the gas as the Australian aims to build a strong run of form before the first Old Firm derby of the season in just over two weeks’ time.

Advancing from the third qualifying round will see Celtic face Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar in the final playoff round of the Europa League, though a defeat on aggregate will see the Hoops demoted to the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Despite trailing by a two-goal margin, Jablonec can take some belief into the second leg, after posing a threat on several occasions in the final third last Thursday.

The Galacticos created a number of chances and had 15 shots on Celtic’s goal, and another threatening display will be required in midweek if they are to outscore their Scottish opponents, who themselves have found their form in front of goal.

Since the first leg, Jablonec played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Bohemians 1905 in the Czech top flight on Sunday.

Petr Roda’s men were trailing up until the 77th minute when they then scored twice in six minutes to turn the game on its head. However, the hosts were unable to claim all three points as they conceded a 94th-minute penalty.

Jablonec head into the second leg on Thursday, having previously qualified for the Europa League group stages only once before in 2018.

Roda’s side seemingly have a steep mountain to climb and will need to be on top of their game if they are to have any chance of progressing to the next round.

Celtic Europa League form:
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Celtic form (all competitions):
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FK Baumit Jablonec Europa League form:
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FK Baumit Jablonec form (all competitions):
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