FC Astana vs Celtic Preview And Prediction Champions League

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Astana will be looking to replicate their excellent season in Europe last season in the coming months. Just two seasons after qualifying for the Europa League for the first time ever they made it all the way to the Champions League group stages last season.

Of course, Astana did finish last in the group behind Atletico Madrid, Benfica, and Galatasaray, but it was the 3rd consecutive year that their performance in Europe has improved. In their first season they were knocked out in the 1st Qualifying Round, but the following year they made it to the Europa League Playoffs. Last season saw them hit the heights of the group stages, so judging by that progression we can expect to see them in the knockout rounds this season.

In all seriousness that is very unlikely, but their recent European record is actually better than Celtic’s despite their inexperience. They also won the Kazakhstan Premier League again last season ahead of Kairat and Aktobe below them.

They are also seven points clear of Kairat in this season’s Premier League campaign, Astana’s form is looking rather good as you would expect. They have won ten of their last 13 matches in all competitions and lost just once, including a 2-1 aggregate win over Zalgiris in the 2nd Qualifying Round.

Celtic’s 2nd Qualifying Round tie almost proved an embarrassing banana peel to slip on. They somehow lost the first leg of their tie with part-timers Lincoln Red Imps, but they managed to salvage the tie with three quickfire goals in the reverse leg of the tie. They will need to improve their performance if they are to get past Astana.

The Glasgow giants just haven’t been a big enough force continentally recently. They failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages last season and then finished bottom of their Europa League group, and they have only made it to the knockout stages of either competition twice since 2008.

Away from home they really struggle in Europe as well. They have won just two of their last 12 away days in the Champions League, losing seven of them and drawing three. This includes defeats to Shakhter Karagandy, Legia Warsaw, Malmo, and Lincoln Red Imps. The only teams they have managed to beat are Iceland Urvalsdeild outfits in the qualifying rounds.

Astana, on the other hand, have proved formidable at home in their short time in Champions League football. They have won four of their seven home games and lost none, including impressive draws against Atletico Madrid, Benfica, and Galatasaray last season. This makes odds of 1.725 for an Astana 0.0 Asian Handicap Win look good value to me, so that’s what I’m backing alongside a 1-0 correct score prediction at 6/1.

Astana have won 57% of lost 0% of their home matches in the Champions League, whereas Celtic have lost 58% and won 17% of their last 12 away days in the competition.

Astana are expecting to have a full strength starting 11 on Wednesday.

Celtic will be without goalkeeper Logan Bailly, midfielder Stefan Johansen, and centre back trio Dedryck Boyata, Eoghan O#Connell, and Jozo Simunovic. They will have new arrival Kolo Toure to cover for the injuries though.

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