Borussia Monchengladbach v Celtic: Scottish champions require 'A-game' in Germany
|Champions League Group C: Borussia Monchengladbach v Celtic|
|Kick off: 19:45 (BST) Venue: Borussia-Park, Monchengladbach|
|Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, text coverage on BBC Sport website|
Brendan Rodgers' task as Celtic manager on Tuesday evening is as difficult as any he has encountered in his time in Glasgow so far.
Faced with opposition who were, by his own admission, superior to his team as they won at Celtic Park, he must find a way to reverse that result on Borussia Monchengladbach's home territory.
But not only that. He must do it with three key defenders absent through injury, meaning whatever defensive strategy he uses, it will be an unfamiliar combination.
And while trying to ensure the new-look back-line stands firm, can Celtic produce the sort of scintillating attacking display that has blown domestic opposition away?
- 'A German Team' scarves in high demand
- Rodgers has last-16 plan for Celtic
- Celtic without two key defenders
They did the latter once already this season in the Champions League - at home to Manchester City - but could not combine it with sufficiently stoic defending to take all three points.
In stark contrast to the manner in which Celtic have cruised past domestic opposition so far this season - conceding just eight league goals in 10 games while scoring 31 - their defence has been penetrated more often than any other in the Champions League group stage, apart from their old foes Legia Warsaw.
So to buck that trend with a makeshift back-four (or five as Rodgers used unsuccessfully against Barcelona) is, in football parlance, a big ask.
Rodgers is missing Kieran Tierney, Jozo Simunovic and Kolo Toure, so what will his defence look like?
Tierney's replacement will certainly be Emilio Izaguirre, a seasoned campaigner at this level with Celtic.
The Honduran looked to be on the way out of the club in the summer but though Rodgers has stuck with Tierney as his first-choice left-back, he felt Izaguirre could still do a job and he has the chance over the next couple of months to prove his manager right.
|BBC Scotland commentator Liam McLeod|
|"If Celtic lose again and Manchester City avoid defeat against Barcelona, the Scottish champions will not be able to qualify for the last 16. Celtic haven't won on German soil in nine attempts. The best the Scottish champions have managed is two goalless draws against Werder Bremen in 1988 and on their last visit at Hamburg in 2009. In their 25 away Champions League group stage matches, Celtic have managed just one victory, with Neil Lennon's side beating Spartak Moscow 3-2 in 2012. The only other positive result was a 1-1 at Barcelona in 2004."|
Erik Sviatchenko is another certain starter. Rodgers had permed two from three central defenders for most of the season, with Toure and Simunovic the others.
But with that pair injured, Rodgers must decide whether to reintroduce Eoghan O'Connell, who hasn't started a game since August and last featured as a substitute in the 7-0 defeat in Camp Nou, or to move Mikael Lustig in from right-back alongside his fellow Scandinavian Sviatchenko.
That would mean a start at full-back for Cristian Gamboa. The Costa Rican also began the match in Barcelona and though he was found wanting, it would be harsh to judge him on a game in which he was directly up against Neymar.
Beyond that, there are few question marks over the rest of the Celtic starting XI.
Scott Brown and Nir Bitton will have to offer solid protection in front of the defence, while the attacking onus will fall upon Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele.
Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts would appear to be the only other possible candidates to oust any of Rodgers' preferred starters.
Celtic know they under-performed in the home game against the Germans and have been quick to admit they will have to be better to take anything from tonight's match.
As they have shown for much of this season, they can be a formidable side when they are on top form and to have a chance of European football in the new year, as Brendan Rodgers acknowledges, they'll have to produce their "A-game" in Borussia Park.