Celtic continued their underwhelming start to the season by shipping four goals at home to German side Bayer Leverkusen last night.
A frantic end-to-end start seen the hoops look dangerous early on – but former-Celt Jermaine Frimpong and co. quickly put a stamp on the game and were cruising two up at half-time.
It’s now zero points and eight conceded in two for Postecoglou’s side in Europe, they now sit six points behind the qualification spots in Group G. Two wins from the Ferencvaros double header is now looking like a real necessity.
Kyogo Furuhashi and Callum McGregor’s returns had initially looked to make a real difference in the home side’s fortunes. Looking like his threatening-self the former had two glorious opportunities to open the scoring, and missed a real sitter to pull a goal back in the second-half.
Leverkusen though were clinical in front of goal, and had Piero Hincape and wonderkid Florian Wirtz to pounce on Celtic’s individual errors before the referee had blown for the interval. Whilst the Glasgow side had looked the part going forward, their leaky defensive efforts had yet again proved costly.
When Italian referee Marco Di Bello judged Cameron Carter-Vickers to have blocked a Werkself shot with his arm on the hour mark, any sign of a comeback began to fade. Lucas Alario rolled in the spot-kick for three, whilst substitute Amine Adli thundered in number four in the final seconds.
Here are three things Brig Sport learned from the match:
Same old problems…
Celtic fans must surely be scratching their heads at the sheer amount of sitters their side have missed over the last couple of months.
To criticise Kyogo for Jonathan Tah’s incredible goal-saving tackle would be harsh, but the Japanese striker ought to have done more with the one-on-one that followed shortly after, nevermind his open-goal miss later in the match.
Liel Abada was another to squander a great chance with the deficit at two, and when you consider how many of these Celtic are struggling to put away at the moment it must be a real frustration to Postecoglou, his side look like they have to create far too many chances before actually finding the net.
Although if there is one silver lining…
Trust the process!
Football as a sport is becoming more and more data driven – and if you look at the underlying numbers behind Celtic’s performances you can see the signs of a good side are certainly there to be seen.
Of course, as a fan this can often be frustrating to hear, when results on the pitch are below expectations instructions to stick with the current set-up usually aren’t too well received, but if there’s one thing Celtic seem to be missing right now it’s certainly luck.
No goals from 2.04 xG last night, 1 from 3.74 against Dundee United, none from 1.56 against Rangers, even 0.91 away at Livingston is a number most teams would expect to get on the scoresheet with.
That’s not to say Celtic’s poor form is totally down to luck, because their defending at times has been abysmal to say the least, but what they really need right now is someone to put away these high quality chances that are being created, not a change in fundamental tactics by any means.
Hrádecký is world class – Wirtz will be very soon
To give credit to the opposition, Gerardo Seoane’s Leverkusen clearly have several top quality players at their disposal.
Veteran Finnish stopper Lukáš Hrádecký was on hand to prove why he’s been established in the Bundesliga for so long. Not many visiting keepers come away with a clean sheet from Parkhead but a vintage display from the 31-year-old meant his shutout was more than well-earned. He made six saves in total, four of which coming from inside the area, and overall put in a confident and assured performance between the sticks.
Meanwhile, the ever-functioning conveyer belt of young talent coming out of the BayArena looks to have unearthed another star in midfielder Florian Wirtz. His well-taken finish capped off a fine display which would leave many struggling to come to terms with the fact the German is just 18 years old. Fans of Die Werkself will be rightfully excited about what the future may hold for the youngster.
Featured image credit – Sky Sports