Celtic out of Champions League after Leipzig loss

Timo Werner guided in the opener 15 minutes from time

Celtic’s hopes of Champions League progress are over after their profligacy was punished in a frustrating home defeat by RB Leipzig.

Matt O’Riley and Greg Taylor struck the woodwork in quick succession and Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi also passed up glaring chances for the opener.

Leipzig showed the ruthless edge Celtic lacked with late goals from Timo Werner and substitute Emil Forsberg.

It leaves the Scottish champions bottom with one point from four games.

But while a top-two finish is now beyond Celtic, their hopes of salvaging a Europa League place were boosted by Real Madrid’s late equaliser away to Shakhtar Donetsk, who are now four points ahead in third and visit Glasgow in a fortnight.

Celtic’s group-stage failings were encapsulated in a dizzying sequence midway through the first half. O’Riley rattled the base of a post with a 20-yard strike and Taylor pounced on the loose ball only to scuff it on to the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Seconds later, Kyogo grazed the woodwork with a gilt-edged header from Sead Haksabanovic’s delivery.

Maeda had set the tone of frustration in the opening seconds, scooping an awkward header inches over, and wasteful finishing is ultimately what has condemned Celtic to an exit with two games to spare.


They were eventually undone by a slick Leipzig outfit that had found Joe Hart in imposing form. The Celtic goalkeeper, who gifted a goal in last week’s defeat in Germany, stuck out a leg to brilliantly divert Christopher Nkunku’s powerful drive past a post then spread himself to foil Willi Orban.

Celtic looked increasingly ragged as the second half swung from end to end and the only surprise was how long it took for a goal to arrive. Leipzig full-back Mohamed Simakan blazed over at one end, Maeda volleyed Aaron Mooy’s cross wide at the other.

But Leipzig’s growing menace was rewarded when Werner guided a header from Andre Silva’s drilled cross into the bottom corner.

Still Celtic had chances, with substitute Giorgos Giakoumakis unable to convert from close range.

But Leipzig put the result beyond doubt when Werner rolled a pass to Forsberg, who took a touch then sent an unerring finish into the top corner.

Player of the match – Timo Werner

A goal and assist made it an enjoyable return to the UK for the former Chelsea striker
A goal and assist made it an enjoyable return to the UK for the former Chelsea striker

Galling night for Celtic – analysis

A night that promised much for Celtic ends with a familiar pang of regret over missed chances and an unwanted Champions League record.

The Glasgow club have now equalled Monaco’s mark of having lost seven consecutive home games in the group stage, a barren run stretching back to 2016.

Deprived of captain Callum McGregor through injury, Ange Postecoglou doubled down on his attacking philosophy and O’Riley impressed in a deeper midfield role that he’s accustomed to. Left-back Taylor, too, shone as the hosts gave as good as they got for much of this contest.

The stats, though, are galling. Celtic racked up 16 shots, just two of them on target, and their XG (expected goals) of 1.75 amplifies their struggles to put the ball in the net. It became inevitable that Leipzig would not be so generous at the other end.

It leaves Celtic needing to win at home against Shakhtar and take a least a point in Madrid against an already-qualified Real to secure the consolation of Europa League football.

What the manager said

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou: “Disappointed for our fans, and for our lads as well. I thought we showed the endeavour to win the game, but as we’ve found out at this level if you don’t take your chances, it’s very hard to convert that into a result.

“It’s been the story of our campaign so far, a tale of missed opportunities. It’s the hardest part of the game, it’s why clubs spend hundreds of millions on players who do that.”

Match stats

  • Celtic have lost each of their last seven home Champions League games, equalling the longest run of home defeats by a team in the competition, previously set by Monaco between May 2017 and December 2018 (7).
  • RB Leipzig secured their first-ever win in Scotland, after previously losing on the road to Celtic and Rangers (they won their previous three home games v Scottish sides).
  • Celtic mustered 16 shots, their most without scoring in a Champions League game since November 2013 against Milan (20 shots, 0 goals).
  • Celtic have failed to score in consecutive home games in Europe for the first time since October/November 2016 also in the Champions League group stages.
  • RB Leipzig’s Werner has been directly involved in seven goals in his last four away Champions League games, scoring four (1 for Leipzig, 3 for Chelsea) and assisting three (1 for Leipzig, 2 for Chelsea).
  • Werner both scored and assisted in the same Champions League game for the fourth time and is the fifth player to manage that feat for RB Leipzig in the competition (also Sabitzer, Poulsen, Angelino and Nkunku).

What’s next?

Celtic host Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday (15:00 GMT), the first of three domestic outings before their next Champions League assignment at home to Shakhtar on 25 October (20:00).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Hart
  • 88JuranovicBooked at 90mins
  • 20Carter-Vickers
  • 6Jenz
  • 3Taylor
  • 33O’Riley
  • 41HatateBooked at 34minsSubstituted forMooyat 66′minutes
  • 11AbadaSubstituted forForrestat 42′minutes
  • 9HaksabanovicSubstituted forTurnbullat 66′minutes
  • 38MaedaSubstituted forBernabeiat 80′minutes
  • 8FuruhashiSubstituted forGiakoumakisat 66′minutes


  • 7Giakoumakis
  • 13Mooy
  • 14Turnbull
  • 16McCarthy
  • 25Bernabei
  • 28Abildgaard
  • 29Bain
  • 31Siegrist
  • 35Robertson
  • 49Forrest
  • 56Ralston
  • 57Welsh

RB Leipzig

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21Blaswich
  • 2SimakanSubstituted forHenrichsat 76′minutes
  • 4Orbán
  • 32Gvardiol
  • 22Raum
  • 8HaidaraSubstituted forDialloat 83′minutes
  • 24Schlager
  • 17SzoboszlaiSubstituted forForsbergat 76′minutes
  • 18NkunkuSubstituted forNovoaat 88′minutes
  • 11Werner
  • 19André SilvaSubstituted forPoulsenat 76′minutes


  • 9Poulsen
  • 10Forsberg
  • 25Ba
  • 34Nickisch
  • 37Diallo
  • 38Novoa
  • 39Henrichs
  • 44Kampl

Halil Umut Meler


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