This Thursday sees the 2020-21 Europa League continue, with Sparta Prague hosting Scotland's Celtic in Group H.
Sparta and Celtic are currently on course to be eliminated in the group stage, as they’re lagging behind both AC Milan and group leaders Lille.
However, with just three matches played, both sides can still qualify – making Thursday’s game a must-win.
Sparta Prague vs Celtic Head-to-Head
Sparta Prague are on somewhat of a sticky patch in terms of form.
They’ve lost their last two domestic league games – their first two losses of the 2020-21 campaign – and they are now four points behind city rivals Slavia Prague at the top of the Czech Gambrina League.
In Europa League action, Sparta Prague were beaten by both Lille and AC Milan – but were able to secure a 4-1 win over Celtic at Celtic Park in early November.
Celtic, meanwhile, have shown solid form in domestic action, losing just one match thus far – to bitter Glasgow rivals Rangers in October.
However, they have drawn two of their last three league games and have failed to win in Europe this season, their only point coming against Lille in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in a 2-2- draw.
Sparta Prague form guide: L-L-W-L-L
Celtic form guide: D-D-L-W-D
Sparta Prague vs Celtic Team News
Sparta will be without seven players for this clash with Celtic. Lukas Stetina, Adam Hlozek, Libor Kozak, Ondrej Celustka, David Hancko, Ladislav Krejci and Michal Sacek are all on the sideline with injuries.
Injured: Lukas Stetina, Adam Hlozek, Libor Kozak, Ondrej Celustka, David Hancko, Ladislav Krejci, Michal Sacek
Celtic will be without Christopher Jullien, James Forrest and Michael Johnston. All three are expected back from injuries in a few weeks.
Injured: Christopher Jullien, James Forrest, Michael Johnston
Sparta Prague vs Celtic Predicted XI
Sparta Prague predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Florin Constantin Nita, Andreas Aalen Vindheim, David Pavelka, Dominik Plechaty, David Lischka, Borek Dockal, Srdan Plavsic, Matej Polidar, Adam Karabec, David Moberg Karlsson, Lukas Julis
Celtic predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Scott Bain, Jeremie Frimpong, Nir Bitton, Kristoffer Ajer, Diego Laxalt, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, Tomas Rogic, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Odsonne Edouard
Sparta Prague vs Celtic Prediction
This is a tricky match to call. On one hand, Sparta smashed Celtic last month on their home turf. On the other hand, it’s arguable that the Scottish champions have a slightly better side than their opponents on paper.
However, given that their form hasn’t been great – they required late goals to secure a draw with Hibernian at the weekend – I’m going with Sparta to pick up a win in this game. That victory will likely eliminate Celtic from the Europa League and give Sparta an outside chance of progression if they can get something out of their last two group matches.
Prediction: Sparta Prague 2-0 CelticPublished 24 Nov 2020, 17:15 IST