Celtic v Molde background
Friday, October 23, 2015
Ronny Deila did not enjoy his return to Norway on matchday three and will hope for a happier experience when Celtic welcome Ole Gunnar Solskjær's Molde in Group A.
Article top media content
Celtic FC are eager to lift themselves off the foot of UEFA Europa League Group A as Ronny Deila welcomes fellow Norwegians Molde FK.
• Molde beat the Hoops 3-1 on 22 October in the clubs' first continental encounter. It was a triumphant return to Molde for coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who had been reappointed the previous day.
• Celtic's record in five games against Norwegian teams is W3 D0 L2 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W1 D0 L2 in Norway). They have lost their last two encounters with Norwegian opponents.
• Molde came up against another Glaswegian outfit, Rangers FC, in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round, drawing 0-0 at home and losing 2-0 in their only previous fixture in Scotland. Current Molde captain Daniel Hestad skippered the team during both of those matches.
• Celtic are unbeaten in five European home games.
• Four goals have been scored in each of Celtic's Group A fixtures so far: two 2-2 draws and the 3-1 loss in Molde.
• Molde top Group A with seven points and secured a shock 3-1 victory at Fenerbahçe SK in their first away match in the section.
• If Molde win this game, and AFC Ajax fail to beat Fenerbahçe, the Norwegian side will be sure of a round of 32 place.
• This is Molde's second appearance in this group stage, having missed out on the knockout phase in their maiden campaign in 2012/13.
• Celtic progressed to the round of 32 last term. It was their first successful UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage campaign after missing the cut in 2009/10 and 2011/12.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Molde to Glasgow is around 1,000km.
• Molde committed (21) and suffered (23) the fewest fouls in the first three matchdays.
• Celtic boast Norwegian talent in the form of midfielder Stefan Johansen (FK Bodø/Glimt 2007–10, Strømsgodset IF 2011–13). Molde's Ola Kamara was one of his Strømsgodset team-mates, the pair winning the 2013 Norwegian title at the club under Deila.
• Celtic's Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig also played in Norway with Rosenborg (2008–11), where Molde's Mushaga Bakenga was one of his team-mates.
• Molde's 40-year-old midfield fulcrum Hestad is the oldest player registered in the group stage. Hestad is a Molde legend. He broke his father Stein Olav Hestad's Molde club appearance record while three of his uncles and his brother have played for the club at various times.
• Molde and Celtic are among ten sides in the group stage who qualified for Europe this season as domestic champions, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), Qarabağ FK (Azerbaijan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic), FC Midtjylland (Denmark), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).
• Molde have lost their Norwegian title to fellow group stage contenders Rosenborg BK, who were confirmed as champions on 25 October.
• Solskjær succeeded caretaker boss Erling Moe on the eve of matchday three.
• The former Manchester United FC forward scored 31 goals in 38 games for Molde before moving to Old Trafford and coached the club from 2011–14, winning two league titles and a national cup.
• In his only previous meeting with Celtic, Solskjær came off the bench to score the winner for United in a 3-2 UEFA Champions League group stage success in September 2006.
• A defender in his native Norway, Deila was hired by Celtic in 2014 after a six-year spell in charge of Strømsgodset, who he led to a Norwegian Cup in 2010 and a league title in 2013. He won another title in his first season at Parkhead.
• Deila's Strømsgodset succeeded Solskjær's Molde as Norwegian champions in 2013. Molde finished sixth that season.