UEFA Europa League - 2018/19 SeasonMatch press kits
|Celtic FC||Celtic Park - GlasgowThursday 13 December 2018|
21.00CET (20.00 local time) Group B - Matchday 6
Celtic close their Group B campaign knowing that if they avoid defeat at home to section winners Salzburg, they will accompany their visitors into the knockout phase. The Austrian champions, however, are seeking to win all six matches in a UEFA Europa League group stage for a record-extending third time.
• With wins in each of their last two games – 2-1 at home to RB Leipzig, 1-0 at Rosenborg – Celtic now sit second with nine points. Another point or three would take them into the round of 32. Indeed the only way they can miss out is if they lose and Leipzig – who have head-to-head superiority against the Glasgow club – win at home to bottom club Rosenborg.
• Salzburg cemented their berth in the knockout phase by beating Leipzig 1-0 at home on matchday five – their fifth Group B win out of five. They have topped their UEFA Europa League group with maximum points twice before – in 2009/10 and 2013/14. No other club has managed the feat more than once.
• Salzburg were 3-1 winners at home to Celtic on matchday two, though the visitors led for more than half the game until the Austrian side struck three goals in the second half, two from Israeli striker Munas Dabbur.
• The teams had been drawn together once before this season – in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage. The first game in Salzburg ended 2-2, with the Austrian side subsequently winning 3-1 at Celtic Park. Both teams qualified for the round of 32 – but would go no further – that season.
• The three games against Celtic are Salzburg's only previous matches against Scottish opposition, whereas the Hoops have come up against Austrian clubs on 11 occasions, winning only twice – though that 2014 defeat by Salzburg is their only loss in Glasgow (W2 D1).
• Celtic won the Scottish treble of Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup for the second successive season in 2017/18, but they were unable to secure a hat-trick of UEFA Champions League group stage appearances this term, their elimination of Alashkert and Rosenborg in the first two qualifying rounds followed by defeat to AEK Athens. A 4-1 aggregate victory over Lithuanian champions Sūduva in the UEFA Europa League play-offs maintained Celtic's post-summer interest in Europe.
• This is Celtic's fifth season in the UEFA Europa League group stage. Three of their four previous campaigns have ended in elimination, the exception that 2014/15 season. They also reached the round of 32 last term after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group, but went out to Zenit.
• The Glasgow club are unbeaten in seven continental contests at Celtic Park in 2018 (W6 D1), their matchday one victory over Rosenborg (1-0) having ended a ten-match winless run in European group stage fixtures (D2 L8).
• Champions of Austria for the fifth year running in 2017/18, Salzburg entered this season's UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, but their annual summer quest to reach the group stage ended in another near-miss as they surrendered a two-goal lead to lose out on away goals to Crvena zvezda in the play-offs (0-0 away, 2-2 home).
• Last season Salzburg enjoyed the most successful of their seven previous campaigns in the UEFA Europa League proper, winning their group then eliminating Real Sociedad, Dortmund and Lazio before losing after extra time in the semi-final to Marseille.
• Until they went down 4-2 away to Lazio in the first leg of that 2017/18 quarter-final, Salzburg had gone 19 European games without defeat, ten of those on their travels (W5 D5). They are undefeated in their four continental away fixtures this term (W3 D1) and have found the net eight times in their two group games outside Austria.
Links and trivia
• Filip Benković (Celtic) and Marin Pongračić (Salzburg) are Under-21 international team-mates for Croatia.
• Fredrik Gulbrandsen – who scored Salzburg's winning goals in both matches against Leipzig – played for Norwegian side Lillestrøm when Kristoffer Ajer was a youth player at the club. They subsequently went on to face each other in domestic competition after Gulbrandsen moved to Molde and Ajer joined Start.
• Salzburg are competing in the UEFA Europa League proper for the eighth time – a record they share with Ajax and Sporting CP. The matchday five encounter at Leipzig was the Austrian club's 47th in the group stage – a competition record that is theirs alone – and the win in Germany was the Austrian club's record 36th in the competition, two more than Villarreal.
• Salzburg have now won their UEFA Europa League group on five occasions – another competition high.
• Despite drawing blanks in the last two games, Salzburg's Dabbur remains the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League's joint top scorer with five goals, alongside Eintracht Frankfurt's Luka Jović. Team-mate Takumi Minamino is one behind him, alongside Apollon Limassol's Emilio Zelaya and AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone.
• Celtic collected their first domestic trophy of the season when they defeated Aberdeen 1-0 at Hampden Park on 2 December in the final of the Scottish League Cup, Ryan Christie scoring the only goal to complete the club's fourth successive triumph in the competition and 18th in all.
• Celtic's Northern Irish boss Brendan Rodgers retired early as a player but made his name in management at Swansea, steering the Welsh club into England's top flight before leaving for Liverpool in June 2012. He led the Reds to a Premier League runners-up spot in 2013/14 but was dismissed in October 2015, resurfacing at Celtic, where he won the Scottish treble with an undefeated record in his first season. All three trophies were successfully defended in 2017/18, making Rodgers the first Hoops manager to win the 'Double Treble'.
• Previously Salzburg's youth team boss, Rose stepped up to the senior helm after Óscar García left in June 2017, having led the club to victory in the 2016/17 UEFA Youth League. A defender with home-town club VfB Leipzig, Hannover and Mainz, he has been on Salzburg's coaching staff since 2013 and oversaw the club's fifth successive Austrian Bundesliga title as well as a run to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals during his debut campaign in the top job.