Celtic FC vs AZ Alkmaar Preview 18/08/2021
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Scottish side Celtic welcome Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar to Celtic Park on Wednesday for the first leg of their UEFA Europa League play-off.
Celtic actually had the chance to qualify for the Champions League this season but were beaten by Midtjylland last month.
🤩 Some excellent saves here!#AZ #PV1 #VelkommenPeter pic.twitter.com/SR3yjHJ7ND
— AZ (@AZAlkmaar) August 16, 2021
Since then, however, the Hoops have found their feet under new manager Ange Postecoglou and will now be confident of qualifying for the Europa League.
Following a 2-1 loss to Hearts on the opening day of the 2021/22 Scottish Premiership season, Celtic have recorded four consecutive victories in all competitions.
Postecoglou’s men thrashed Jablonec 7-2 on aggregate in the previous round of Europa League qualifying.
In between the two legs against Jablonec, Celtic hammered Dundee 6-0, with Kyogo Furuhashi netting a hat-trick.
Last time out, the Hoops got their revenge over Hearts – defeating them 3-2 in the Scottish League Cup on Sunday. Once again, Furuhashi got on the scoresheet.
Having netted a combined total of 16 goals across their previous four games (four goals per game), AZ Alkmaar won’t be looking forward to facing Celtic’s in-form forward line.
While Celtic have already played seven competitive games this season, AZ only played their first of the campaign on Saturday.
Unfortunately, they failed to get off to a positive start – losing 1-0 to RKC Waalwijk on the opening weekend of the 2021/22 Eredivisie season.
That said, AZ racked up a series of solid pre-season results – losing just one of their nine friendlies (six wins, two draws).
Looking at the bigger picture, AZ have only lost two of their last 19 matches in all competitions. With that in mind, they will fancy their chances of upsetting Celtic.
Head-to-head: This is the first meeting between Celtic and AZ, meaning we have no previous results to analyse for this fixture.
Team news: Celtic will be without centre-back Christopher Jullien on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
AZ Alkmaar also have just one injury concern at the moment, with attacking midfielder Jeremy Helmer currently on the sidelines.
Although Celtic have upped their game in recent matches, AZ Alkmaar should be too strong for the Scottish side.
PlusBet.net predicts that AZ will score over 1.5 goals on their way to securing a precious first-leg advantage on Wednesday.