Celtic v Valencia background

Celtic squeezed into the round of 32 at the last and now face a Valencia side who have never lost at this stage.

Brendan Rodgers with his Celtic players on matchday six
Brendan Rodgers with his Celtic players on matchday six ©AFP/Getty Images

Having scraped through the group stage thanks to a late helping hand from elsewhere, Celtic are appearing in the round of 32 for the second year in a row. Standing between the Scottish champions and further progress are European thoroughbreds Valencia, who have a perfect record at this stage of the UEFA Europa League.

• Celtic finished second in Group B, nine points behind Salzburg, and lost 2-1 at home to the Austrian champions in their final fixture only for a late equaliser for bottom club Rosenborg – who had lost their five previous games – at Leipzig to send them through at the German club's expense.

• Valencia's autumn campaign was in the UEFA Champions League, where they finished third behind Juventus and Manchester United in Group H (W2 D2 L2).

Brightest stars of the #UEL group stage
Brightest stars of the #UEL group stage

Previous meetings
• The clubs' only previous UEFA meeting ended with a penalty shoot-out win for Valencia at Celtic Park after both teams had won their home leg 1-0 in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round. The Spanish club also progressed when the clubs met in the non-UEFA 1962/63 Inter-Cities Fairs' Cup first round, a trophy they went on to retain.

• Celtic have won just seven of their 30 UEFA matches against Spanish opposition, all in Glasgow (D2 L6). However, they have lost five of the last eight at home (W2 D1), including four defeats by Barcelona.

• That 1-0 defeat at Celtic in 2001 is Valencia's only loss in four visits to Scotland. The other three games were against Rangers, two victories preceding a 1-1 draw in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Form guide
Celtic
• Celtic won the treble of Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup for the second successive season in 2017/18 but were unable to secure a hat-trick of UEFA Champions League group stage appearances this term, eliminating Alashkert and Rosenborg in the first two qualifying rounds before defeat by 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.

Europa League group stage skillzone
Europa League group stage skillzone

• The Hoops defeated Rosenborg twice more in the group stage and overcame Leipzig 2-1 at Celtic Park, which ultimately proved crucial as Celtic progressed from the group stage for the second time in five attempts.

• This is the third appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the 2002/03 UEFA Cup runners-up. They lost both previous ties – to Internazionale in 2014/15 (3-3 home, 0-1 away) and, having crossed over from the UEFA Champions League group stage, Zenit in 2017/18 (1-0 home, 0-3 away).

• The Glasgow club's matchday six defeat by Salzburg ended a run of seven European home games unbeaten in 2018 (W6 D1) as well as four successive home wins in the UEFA Europa League, play-offs included.

Valencia
• Fourth in the Spanish Liga in 2017/18, Valencia qualified for an 11th UEFA Champions League group stage campaign after two consecutive seasons without European football. Runners-up in that competition in both 1999/2000 and 2000/01, they won the UEFA Cup in 2004.

• Valencia lost twice without scoring against Juventus in the autumn but took four points off both Manchester United and Young Boys, beating each at home and drawing away.

Best goals of the 2018/19 group stage
Best goals of the 2018/19 group stage

• This is the Spanish side's fifth appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and they have won all four previous ties, against Club Brugge in 2009/10 (0-1 away, 3-0 home), Stoke in 2011/12 (1-0 away, 1-0 home), Dynamo Kyiv in 2013/14 (2-0 away, 0-0 home) and Rapid Wien in 2015/16 (6-0 home, 4-0 away). They reached the semi-finals in both 2011/12 and 2013/14.

• Valencia are undefeated in their last seven round of 32 fixtures, keeping clean sheets in all of them. However, that 4-0 win at Rapid three years ago is one of only two victories in their last 11 European games on the road, with seven defeats.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
Celtic
In: Oliver Burke, Timothy Weah, Jeremy Toljan, Eboué Kouassi
Out: Lewis Bell, Conor Hazard, Mark Hill, Lewis Morgan, Youssuf Mulumbu

Valencia
In: Rubén Sobrino, Facundo Roncaglia, Kangin Lee
Out: Álex Blanco, Michy Batshuayi, Jeison Murillo, Rubén Vezo, Uroš Račić

Brightest stars of the #UEL group stage
Brightest stars of the #UEL group stage

Links and trivia
• Celtic defender Marvin Compper and Valencia goalkeeper Neto were team-mates at Fiorentina in 2013/14, when the Tuscan club reached the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• Ezequiel Garay scored Benfica's winner against Celtic in a UEFA Champions League group game in November 2012 (2-1).

• Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers spent time at Valencia while studying for his Academy Licence and was also part of the Chelsea coaching staff when the Blues won 2-1 at Mestalla in an October 2007 UEFA Champions League group match.

• All four of Valencia's UEFA Europa League knockout phase campaigns have ended with elimination by fellow Spanish clubs – Atlético Madrid in the 2009/10 quarter-finals and 2011/12 semi-finals, Sevilla in the 2013/14 semi-finals and Athletic Club in the 2015/16 round of 16. Only in the latter case did their conquerors not go on to lift the trophy.

• This is Celtic's 15th European game of the season – more than any other team in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 bar Malmö, who also kicked off in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. The Bhoys' longest previous continental adventure was in 2003/04, when they played 16 matches.

• Celtic collected their first domestic trophy of the season – and their seventh in succession under Rodgers – 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 as the Hoops won the trophy for the fourth year in a row and 18th in all.

Europa League group stage review
Europa League group stage review

The coaches
• Celtic manager 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'.

• Marcelino's career as a midfielder, which included representing Spain at youth and Under-21 level, was curtailed at the age of 28 by injury. As a coach, he worked his way up the Spanish leagues, stints with Zaragoza, Real Racing Club and Sevilla preceding an impressive three-and-a-half-year spell at Villarreal, whom he guided to promotion, three successive top-six Liga finishes and the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League semi-finals. He was appointed by Valencia in May 2017.

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