Celtic welcome the side many regard as the best in the world looking to achieve a historic result to mark the 125th anniversary of the Glasgow giants. While the official anniversary was on Tuesday, celebrations are likely to be in full swing as Barcelona come to town.
Despite the daunting task at hand, there is likely to be optimism among the Celtic squad and support after the side came desperately close to coming home with a point from the Camp Nou two weeks ago. The Scottish champions actually led before being pegged back and suffering the agony of a Barcelona winner deep into injury time.
Still second in Group G, Neil Lennon’s side very much remain in the running for a place in the knockout phase.
“If we get something out of the game, it'll give us a strong foothold in the group,” Lennon said, according to Uefa.com. “We want to get a positive result. We know it's going to be hugely difficult.”
Celtic have endured a difficult time in the Scottish Premier League since their defeat in the Nou Camp, drawing one and losing the other of their two fixtures.
Those results are in sharp contrast to those of Barcelona, who have now won their last five fixtures in all competitions, including a 3-1 victory at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday.
With three wins from three in the Champions League to date, a victory on Wednesday will see Barcelona confirm a place in the next round. It is a milestone that Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova is eager to achieve as soon as possible.
“This is our most important game in the group stage because we need to win it to qualify, regardless of the result in the other match,” he said, according to Uefa.com. “We'll be able to rest players once we have qualified.”
Gerard Pique is back in training and could make his return from injury, although Vilanova has said that it would be a risk to deploy the center back at this stage. With Carlos Puyol still out and the defensive midfield presence of Sergio Busquets absent from suspension, it may be a risk that Vilanova deems worth taking.
Celtic also have their injury problems with Emilio Izaguirre, James Forrest and Thomas Rogne confirmed absentees. Forwards Georgios Samaras and Gary Hooper are also doubts.
D: Lustig, Wilson, Ambrose, Mulgrew
M: Commons, Brown, Wanyama, Ledley
F: Hooper, Samaras
D: Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba
M: Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas
F: Pedro, Messi, Villa
Prediction: As they did at the Nou Camp, Barcelona will dominate possession and Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster will likely need to have another outstanding performance to keep his side in the contest. If he can then Celtic are more than capable of causing a suspect Barcelona defense plenty of problems from set pieces.
Despite that threat, though, and what is sure to be a rousing atmosphere inside Celtic Park, Barcelona’s quality should once again prove enough.
Celtic 1-3 Barcelona
Where to watch: The match kicks-off from Celtic Park at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by MSG Plus, with a live stream available via FoxSoccer2Go.