Red Bull Salzburg – Celtic: Salzburg adapt to ultimately overcome a determined Celtic defense (3-1)
The champions of Austria and Scotland faced off in this exciting Europa League group stage match. Red Bull Salzburg showed versatility to emerge as 3-1 victors, despite falling behind to Celtic in the opening minutes.
Salzburg came into this game in high spirits. A flawless domestic record was added to with a victory against RB Leipzig (3-2) in the opening group stage match. Having gone all the way to the semifinals stage last season, Marco Rose’s men are determined to go even further this season.
In contrast, Celtic have struggled domestically and their current fifth place in the league is a testimony to that. Even though they did come into this match on the back of victories against St Johnstone (1-0) and Aberdeen (1-0), manager Brendan Rodgers will have been under no illusions that an improved level of performance would be required if they were to leave the Red Bull Arena with any points.
Salzburg made three changes to their starting eleven from their last league match, but it presented only one change from their starting lineup against RB Leipzig, as Takumi Minamino replaced Fredrik Gulbrandsen up front in Salzburg’s customary 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield formation. In goal, Alexander Walke started in place of Cican Stanković, continuing Salzburg’s trend of rotating their goalies.
The fullbacks, Stefan Lainer and Andreas Ulmer, played in advanced positions - providing the width that is always missing in a diamond midfield. Diadie Samassékou sat at the base of the diamond with Xaver Schlager and Amadou Haidara providing creative outlets in central midfield areas. Hannes Wolf often drifted wide from his advanced midfield position to link well with Munas Dabbur and Minamino in the channels just in front of the Celtic back line.
Celtic . . .