GLASGOW, UK: Catalan giants Barcelona arrived in Glasgow on Tuesday ahead of their group stage tie with Scottish champions Celtic, the visitors can confirm their qualification as group winners with a fourth straight victory against the hosts on Wednesday night. The sides met just over two weeks ago in Barcelona with a late Jordi Alba goal denying Celtic a crucial point in their bid for qualification to the lucrative last 16 of the Champions league.
Celtic's narrow 2-1 defeat at Camp Nou clearly left a hangover with a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Kilmarnock at Celtic Park in the very next match. A comfortable performance at the weekend at Tannadice saw the Hoops take a 2-0 lead into the closing stages only to concede two late goals to take just a point back down to Glasgow, leaving Neil Lennon's side atop the SPL on goal difference. Celtic celebrate their 125th anniversary this week and a historic win over Barcelona would be the perfect gift for the home crowd, a best price of 9/1 (Bet £1 to win £9) is available with bet365 for Celtic to beat their illustrious opponents.
Barcelona warmed up for the trip to Glasgow with a 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo with Adriano, David Villa and Alba scoring for the home side. Barcelona have played 14 competitive matches this season, winning 13 and drawing just one at home to rivals Real Madrid. In those 14 matches, Tito Vilanova's side have scored an impressive 42 goals and conceded 15 in their superb start to the campaign at home and in Europe. Barca fans will expect another win tomorrow night and are top priced at 1/3 with PaddyPower to meet expectations with three points.
A share of the spoils between the sides is a best price of 5/1 with Betfred, Celtic drew their opening group stage match with Benfica 0-0 at home and would relish a repeat of that result against again this week.
Lionel Messi is reportedly set to celebrate any goal he scores on Wednesday evening by producing a dummy from his sock as a tribute to his his first-born child, Thiago, who was born last week. At Camp Nou, Celtic managed to stifle the Argentinian forward and prevent him from directly hurting them. Messi has scored 15 goals in 13 matches this season in La Liga and the Champions League. BetVictor offer odds of 12/5 that the 25-year-old scores the opening goal at Parkhead.
There are few stats which will reassure Celtic fans ahead of the tie; a fusion of good fortune, hard work and ability will be required to allow them to just compete with arguably the greatest side in footballing history. The home side though can take hope from their previous meetings with Barcelona. In three home ties against the 2011 European champions, Celtic have scored at least one goal on each occasion. BetVictor offer a best price of 23/20 for both teams to score on Wednesday evening.
Celtic will again be well prepared for the visit of Barcelona and will have to accept that the visitors will control the tempo of the match and prod at their back-line methodically looking for openings. Barcelona's constant pressure clearly takes its toll with 24 of their 42 goals this season coming in the second-half of matches. PaddyPower offer 5/6 that the last goal in the match is scored after the 77th minute in the match.
For those planning on betting with bet365 on this week's Champions League games, this offer might appeal: for any pre-game bet placed on a Champions League match with bet365 this week, there will be a free in-play bet to the same stake up to a maximum of £50.