Celtic v Rosenborg preview: Brendan Rodgers excited ahead of Europa League opener
Last Updated: 20/09/18 8:02pm
Brendan Rodgers has reiterated his excitement for European football ahead of Celtic's Europa League opener at home to recent foes Rosenborg on Thursday (kick-off 8pm).
The Hoops knocked the Norwegian outfit out of the Champions League qualifiers last month, but they failed to reach the group stages as they then lost to AEK Athens.
Celtic also beat Rosenborg in last season's Champions League qualifiers.
"There is always excitement going into the European competitions and this is no different," Rodgers said. "It is a real good group we are in.
"The dynamics are slightly different in terms of playing Rosenborg, previously it has been knockout and maybe the first legs have been a little bit cagey. But the difficulty of the game is still there.
"Rosenborg come into the game in really good form since we last played. We expect a tough game. We are playing at home and like any other games against them we really want to show our quality.
"It is always a challenge and it doesn't matter how many times you play an opponent. We prepare well. They are a good team. We respect their qualities but we want to bring our game, our energy and quality and hopefully look to start the group with three points."
Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer is a big doubt for the Group B. The Norway defender is suffering from a virus and will be assessed before the match.
Fellow defender Jozo Simunovic remains out with a knee injury while long-term absentee Nir Bitton (knee) is progressing with his rehabilitation and on course for an October return.
Olivier Ntcham was sent off in Celtic's goalless Scottish Premiership draw at St Mirren on Friday but is available to play in Europe on Thursday.
- This will be the fifth competitive meeting between these two sides since the start of 2017/18. Celtic defeated Rosenborg 1-0 on aggregate in the 3rd round of UCL qualifiers last year, while this season they prevailed 3-1 on aggregate in the same competition at the 2nd round stage, before later being knocked out themselves in the next round by AEK Athens.
- Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has lost just two of his eight UEFA Europa League group stage games as a manager (W3 D3 L2) - all coming as Liverpool boss.
- Celtic have made it past the group stages of the UEFA Europa League just once in four participations - this was in 2014/15, where they were eventually knocked out by Inter Milan in the last 32.
- Rosenborg BK will compete in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League for the fifth time - in each of their previous four appearances in the competition, the Norwegian side has failed to make it past the group stage.
- Rosenborg have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their 24 UEFA Europa League games conceding 46 goals in total.
At the moment Celtic aren't playing well, but at the same time they have already beaten Rosenborg in the qualifiers for the Champions League. Rosenborg had a half-decent result at the weekend as they beat Valerenga, while Celtic drew at St Mirren.
Celtic aren't making a lot of chances at the moment which is frustrating for a lot of people, none more so than Brendan Rodgers. Being a Celtic man, I would play Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths together and go after Rosenborg and pin them in.
They are not that good so I wouldn't be concerned about them scoring loads of goals here on the counter, they are slightly dangerous because Celtic have their own issues, but I think they will beat them again.