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Celtic FC - Atlético de Madrid: Atlético can go top of Champions League Group E

The group stage shifts to Glasgow.

Will Griezmann score for a fourth consecutive match?
Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Atlético de Madrid on Wednesday will play Celtic in the UEFA Champions League, where the club will honor the past and work toward a brighter future in continental competition.

In matchday two, Atlético Madrid (4 points) scraped past Feyenoord (4 points) at the Metropolitano, while Celtic (0 points) lost to Lazio (4 points) at Celtic Park after a last-minute goal from Pedro Rodríguez. With the Italian runners-up now set for a difficult encounter in Rotterdam, Atlético have a good opportunity to leap into sole possession of top spot in Group E.

Los Rojiblancos will attempt to do so while wearing a throwback kit in commemoration of the 1974 European Cup semifinal against this same opponent.

The first leg, played in Glasgow on April 10, 1974, has long been notorious for its brutality. It finished 0-0 after 12 total yellow cards were shown and three Atlético players were sent off in the second half. Atleti won the second leg 2-0 at the Vicente Calderón two weeks later to reach its first European Cup final.

“We’re on a good run of victories,” club captain Koke told the media on Tuesday. “The level in Europe has risen a lot, and at Lazio we were close to winning. We suffered at home, but we were able to take the game forward.

“The level is very high in European competition, and we’re coming (to Glasgow) to win. The level in our recent games has been good, and I hope we maintain it.”

Atlético and Celtic have met on six occasions, and the perennial Scottish champions have never defeated Los Colchoneros. Atleti have won its two other contests at Celtic Park and have four wins against two draws in this matchup. However, Diego Simeone’s men have failed to win their past five Champions League games outside of Spain, and their last away win in this competition’s group stage came in December 2021 against FC Porto.

“This competition teaches us that we have to look at things day by day,” Simeone told reporters on Tuesday. “Tomorrow will be important, and then another important game will come.

“Tomorrow we’ll play with desire, trying to take the game to where we believe we can hurt them.”

Simeone is expected to make changes from the 11 that faced (and defeated) Celta Vigo on Saturday. For one, it’s anticipated that Javi Galán will make his first start for the club in the absence of Samuel Lino (who could miss up to three weeks with a sprained right knee). Stefan Savić returned to training after an illness knocked him out of the Celta game, and he could dislodge César Azpilicueta from the lineup. Rodrigo de Paul is likely to take Marcos Llorente’s place in midfield, too.

“We’re going to play in a historic venue for world football,” Simeone said. “It’ll be a beautiful game.”

Date Oct. 25, 2023

Location Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland

Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CEST, 8:00 p.m. BST, 3:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. PT

Available TV/streaming Paramount+/CBS Sports Network (United States), Movistar+/Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), Discovery+/TNT Sports 3 (United Kingdom)