Champions League: Celtic's opponents Rosenborg more than just about Nicklas Bendtner - Stephen Kenny

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport Scotland
Rosenborg striker Nicklas Bendtner squares up to Dundalk captain Brian Gartland
Nicklas Bendtner (left) failed to shine against Dundalk
Champions League third qualifying round first leg: Celtic v Rosenborg
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Wednesday 26 July Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Stephen Kenny says enigmatic former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner will still pose a threat to Celtic's Champions League qualification hopes.

But the Dundalk manager believes it was teamwork rather than star players that led to his side being edged out by Rosenborg in the previous round.

"They don't have any one outstanding individual but a very cohesive team.

"But you have to respect that Bendtner's got 28 goals for Denmark, so that says a lot," said Kenny.

The 29-year-old Dane moved to Rosenborg in March after an undistinguished spell with Nottingham Forest and has scored six goals in 19 games for the side leading the Eliteserien by five points after 17 games.

"He's been at some good clubs, winning the German Cup with Wolfsburg and being part of the squad that won Serie A at Juventus - even if he was not a regular starter," Kenny told BBC Scotland.

"Most people don't realise until you've seen him in person - he's actually 6ft 5in, a giant of a man and has a very good first touch, although his movement was not that threatening.

"Admittedly, he didn't get many opportunities against ourselves, but he was quite good with his back to goal and he still has a real physical presence in the box."

Former Dunfermline Athletic boss Kenny does not expect counterpart Kare Ingebrigtsen to come up with any formation changes that might surprise Celtic's Brendan Rodgers in the third qualifying round on Tuesday.

Rosenborg's Elbasan Rashani and Matthias Vilhjalmsson celebrate
Matthias Vilhjalmsson (right) scored Rosenborg's winner against Dundalk

"Over the decades, they have played 4-3-3 and they rarely, if ever, change and, right from under-nines all the way up, that's what they play and that's the system they are accustomed to," he said.

"Whichever coach comes in generally plays that system and that seems to have served them well.

"They are quite a rigid team and their roles are clearly defined, although they are a good football team."

Ingebrigtsen, though, showed against Dundalk a willingness to change his personnel to suit the occasion.

Kenny recalled that Iceland international Matthias Vilhjalmsson, who scored the extra-time winner in the second leg, was deployed in central midfield and centre-back Johan Laedre Bjordal was also in the starting line-up as a taller, more physical side was chosen for the first leg in Ireland.

"Their creative flair in midfield was played wide on the left in the away tie," he said.

"But, in the home tie, they brought in Yann-Erik de Lanlay, a left-winger who actually scored their first goal and Birger Meling, a smaller left-back who was more dynamic.

"In the away tie, they went for the taller, more physical team than in the home tie, where they went for some more technical players.

"They've got a lot of good players. Mike Jensen's their captain, another Danish international, and plays on the right side of the midfield three and a lot of the play goes through him."

Rosenborg coach Kare Ingebrigtsen is all smiles at Celtic Park
Kare Ingebrigtsen is unlikely to waver from Rosenborg's usual 4-3-3 formation

Kenny admitted his own side had been "devastated" to miss out on what would have been a "huge" occasion at the Aviva Stadium against Celtic after such a narrow 3-2 aggregate defeat.

However he thinks Rosenborg, who have won their domestic double two seasons running, might thrive on being the underdogs this time.

"Celtic will undoubtedly be favourites because they have been in great form over the last year, winning the domestic treble in the manner that they did," said Kenny.

"But I certainly don't think Rosenborg should be underestimated, because in many respects they were under a lot of pressure to beat us.

"The expectations in the Norwegian public certainly would have been that they should beat us and they are under a bit of pressure to do well in Europe this year.

"They just scraped through in extra time and it was a very close-fought two games, but against Celtic there is less pressure really because they know, even if they lose, they are in the Europa League play-off and the expectations will be lower.

"Because a lot of their players have either played for Norway or Denmark, they have a degree of international experience, so they will be tough opposition for Celtic.

"It certainly won't be a formality. Celtic will have to earn the right to win, which I'm sure they know, but I would expect Celtic to be the stronger over the two legs."

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