Glasgow Celtic have paved their way into the Europa League round of 32, which will commence on Thursday. Their first obstacle is the Danish side FC Copenhagen, who Celtic is visiting for the first leg of the tie.
The second leg will be played at Celtic Park on Thursday 27th February next week. The Glasgow club continue their European journey with some great results in their bag and 10 points clear in the domestic competition. Celtic took a giant leap toward securing their 9th consecutive Scottish title by beating Aberdeen in a tight-knit battle last weekend. Their closest rivals Rangers had dropped a win against Kilmarnock earlier, so Celtic made the advantage 10 points by the win. More remarkably, after the return to action from injury by Nir Bitton, Celtic receives a clean bill of health for their trip to Denmark.
The Scottish giants surprised many in the Europa League group stage, casually pushing aside Italian side Lazio and Romanian champions CFR Cluj in addition to Ligue 1 team Rennes. Especially defeating Lazio, who are currently challenging for the Serie A title only one point behind Juventus, was a feat not many believed in. Celtic won both encounters 2-1 and secured the top seeding in their group already before the last group stage game. That last game, away at Cluj, was their only defeat while they won four and drew once, with Rennes on the road.
Celtic’s oncoming opponents are the reigning champions of Danish Superliga and main fixtures in the European competitions as well, much like Celtic. They are currently second in their domestic league and finished second in their Europa League group behind Swedish side Malmö. The Nordic duo left Ukrainian Dynamo Kiev and Swiss Lugano stranded in the group stage. FCK drew with Kiev twice and Malmö once, winning both fixtures against Lugano and losing to Malmö.
The Danish Superliga only returned to action from a winter break last weekend, with Copenhagen losing to Esbjerg 1-0. Before the break FCK had won four straight in Superliga and were in a good shape. They are likely to be without the Danish internationals Viktor Fischer and Nicolai Boilesen due to injuries.