The winners from the first round of games go head-to-head in the first of two Austria vs Scotland clashes on Thursday
Slowly but surely, Celtic have moved away from crisis over the last fortnight. Wins over St Johnstone and Aberdeen, though unconvincing, have seen Brendan Rodgers’ men begin to stabilise themselves after a difficult start to the season.
However, they are aware that scrutiny will again be cast on them if they suffer defeat against a Red Bull Salzburg side that made it all the way to the Europa League semi-finals last year.
The Hoops got off to a winning start in Europe, albeit via another single-goal success, this time against Rosenborg, and have given themselves a shot to compete against both Salzburg and RB Leipzig.
The Austrian side beat the Germans 3-2 away from home in the first round of fixtures, installing themselves, therefore, as the team to topple.
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 2 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 2||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Position||RB Salzburg players|
|Goalkeepers||Stankovic, Kohn, Walke, Antosch|
|Defenders||Van der Werff, Onguene, Andre Ramalho, Ulmer, Lainer, Ludewig, Pongracic, Todorovic|
|Midfielders||Haidara, Yabo, Samassekou, WolfJunuzovic, Minamino, Leitgeb, Schlager, Mwepu|
|Forwards||Dabbur, Prevljak, Daka, Gulbrandsen|
Patrick Farkas is missing due to injury for the home side, while there are doubts over regulars Andreas Ulmer and Amadou Haidara. They will start if they are declared fit.
Hannes Wolf returns after being sidelined at the weekend.
Starting XI: Walke; Lainer, Ramalho, Pongracic, Ulmer; Haidaram, Samessekou, Wolf, Schlager; Minamino, Dabbur
|Goalkeepers||Gordon, Bain, Hazard|
|Defenders||Hendry, Simunovic, Gamboa, Boyata, Benkovic, Lustig, Ajer, Ralston, Tierney, Izaguirre|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Morgan, Christie, Rogic, Ntcham, Mulumbu, McGregor, Forrest, Eboue, Arzani|
|Forwards||Griffiths, Edouard, Johnston|
Brendan Rodgers has barely had any respite from injury problems this season, and ahead of the second Europa League tie has his share of headaches once again as he selects his Celtic side.
Centre-backs Kristoffer Ajer is missing, while Filip Benkovic is also sidelined. Jozo Simunovic makes the bench. Nir Bitton, who could adapt to a defensive role, is injured too.
Odsonne Edouard was a doubt with a dead leg but will start alongside Leigh Griffiths, while Scott Brown is not involved at all.
Starting XI: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Hendry, Tierney; Forrest, Mulumbu, Ntcham, McGregor; Edouard, Griffiths
Betting & Match Odds
Salzburg are priced at 8/15 to win, according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 7/2. A win for Napoli is priced at 11/2.
Unusually for Celtic, they have had problems finding the net in recent games. Only twice in their last 15 outings have they managed to net more than once in a game – and one of those fixtures was a League Cup tie against Championship side Partick Thistle.
As such, the defence, which has been ravaged by injury all season, has been put under undue pressure that it has been unable to handle.
Results have suffered, and while the Bhoys have won six of their last eight in all competition, five of those wins have come by a 1-0 margin.
Little wonder, then, that Rodgers is calling for an offensive improvement in Austria.
“At this level, it’s about being clinical,” he said in the build up to this game.
Salzburg, though, are a side that caught the eye with their run to the final four of the competition last year, when they were controversially beaten by Marseille.
They were unfortunate to miss out on the Champions League this time around, stunned in the playoff phase by Red Star Belgrade, but they have set about making amends at this level once more. A 3-2 win in Leipzig was an excellent victory.
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Indeed, they have won 14 of their 16 competitive matches since the season began and have not lost a single one. Their two draws came against Red Star as they exited the competition on away goals.
Celtic’s task, then, is a monumental one.