Champions League: Celtic's Brendan Rodgers has last-16 plan

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Rodgers: Experience in Europe will be 'a great foundation'

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his aim is for the Glasgow side to consistently reach the latter stages of the Champions League.

But he admits that's a mid-term target.

Rodgers is concentrating simply on coaxing a better performance from his side than they produced in losing 2-0 at home to Borussia Monchengladbach.

"The process we're beginning, the experience this competition has given us, is the chance to build towards that," he said of their last-16 hopes.

Celtic face the Germans away on Tuesday night knowing defeat will leave their hopes of staying in Europe at all in severe doubt.

"It's step by step," said Rodgers. "They've arrived into this level, in the toughest group in the competition, and of course it's been difficult for them.

"We don't see it as a threat. It's a major challenge for us, but it's a great challenge to have.

"Each year we can arrive here, we can improve on it and hopefully get to the latter stages consistently.

"Let's see how the next game goes and take it from there."

Fell below standard

More immediately, Celtic must attempt to take their hugely impressive domestic form on the road to keep realistic hopes of European football after Christmas.

"We were second best the last time, there was no doubt about that," Rodgers said of the home defeat by Tuesday's opponents.

"In terms of performance level, it was one of the few times we fell below a standard we have set.

"There is no doubt we can win here. If we perform to the level that we know we can then of course it is a possibility for us, or else we wouldn't be here."

Borussia Monchengladbach coach Andre Schubert
Gladbach coach Andre Schubert says the game could decide his side's Euro fate

Brushing aside questions about whether the last 16 was still attainable this season, he added: "It is about putting in a performance away from home and if we can do that then we know we have a possibility of getting a good result.

"They reinforced that they are a very good side. Even with the players missing, the level they are developing over the last couple of years is a level we are trying to get to obviously over time.

"At this level, there are very few opportunities and you have to take them while remaining very solid and super-competitive."

Decisive for Gladbach

Gladbach sit third in Group C, one point behind Manchester City, and a victory over Celtic would put the Germans in a strong position to at least qualify for the Europa League even if they fail to reach the last 16.

Winger Andre Hahn, who scored in Glasgow, said: "Celtic and City have to get by us at Borussia Park and a few teams have had a problem there."

However, coach Andre Schubert said his side are "in the race. Nothing more, nothing less".

"It is one of our most important games," he added. "It could well decide whether or not we stay in Europe."

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