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Big Match Breakdown: Celtic v AEK Athens

Cian Carroll | 8 August 2018

Preview of the first-leg

Celtic welcome AEK Athens to Glasgow for their third round Champions League qualifier tonight.

Brendan Rodgers(‘) side will face either Malmo or MOL Vidi in the play-offs if they can navigate through this tie.

The game’s not being shown live on TV but if you’re a non-UK and Irish subscriber you can watch on Celtic’s official club website.

However, the Coral News Team has you sorted with odds and tips in our Big Match Breakdown.

Head-to-Head & Form

This will be Celtic and AEK’s first clash in their clubs’ histories so there’s nothing to go on in that regard.

But it will be the Greek champions’ first competitive outing of the season. And that could give the Scottish giants the upper hand here.

This will be the Hoops(‘) sixth game of the season already. Brendan Rodgers’ side have won four of their previous five, with one draw. And four of those games were UCL ties.

Likely XIs

Odsonne Edouard will probably lead the line for Celtic after a hot start to the season. The former Paris Saint-Germain youngster has bagged four goals in the first five games of the season.

Rodgers also welcomes back Jozo Simunovic in the heart of the defence. However, Dedrick Boyata could be left out having been heavily linked with a move to Fulham.

It’s been all change for AEK over the summer. The Greek Super League side lost their coach to Las Palmas and a raft of their playing squad, too.

And to make matters worse, club captain Petros Mantalos has been ruled out of the first leg through injury.

Key Battles

With so many changes over the summer, AEK have been struggling to score goals over pre-season.

And Celtic don’t tend to ship too many at fortress Parkhead. Celtic under Rodgers like to dictate possession so AEK will likely sit back in a low block and try and frustrate them.

That will mean the Hoops will likely need to utilise plenty of width. Scott Sinclair and James Forrest will need to bring their A games.

Celtic are used to opposition teams sitting deep at Celtic Park. Edouard is decent with his back to go and will look for any breaking balls in and around the box.

Match Odds

Celtic are 4/6 favourites with AEK 5/1 underdogs. The Draw is available at 5/2.

The Greek outfit haven’t qualified for the group stages in 11 years. Celtic are looking to make it through for the third straight year.

With Cetlic’s imperious home record, their comparative quality, and their advanced pre-season preparations, the Hoops look good for another famous European night.

Rodgers will be hoping his side can take more than a one-goal cushion to Athens. The 2-0 correct score is 6/1.

As mention previously, Edouard has started the season brilliantly. The French ace has found the net in three of the four UCL qualifiers this term. He’s 10/3 to be First Goalscorer and 13/10 to score Anytime.

Click here for more Celtic v AEK Athens odds

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing