Celtic vs. Juventus, 2013 UEFA Champions League draw: Another huge test for the Scots

Jeff J Mitchell

Celtic don't have a chance against Juventus on paper. But that was also true when they played Barcelona in the group stages.

It's often said of smaller clubs that somehow find themselves into the latter stages of competitions that they're "just happy to be here", but that applies to both of these teams, despite the mismatch. Nobody expected Celtic to beat Barcelona, nobody expected them to get out of the group... and they've landed themselves a tie against another giant in Juventus.

The Bianconeri will be pleased to be here too, though, after years of underachievement in the post-Calciopoli hangover. Now they're back, and they mean business, and in theory they've been given an easy game here.

It's not that simple, though, because the Hoops' once-famed invulnerability at Celtic Park in Europe appears to have returned to them after they won a glorious victory against Barcelona, and they'll be hoping to do the same against Juventus. There's the potential for a real fairytale here, but the odds are seriously against the Glaswegians, and the expectation will all be on the Italians to make it through.

Key Players

Celtic: Victor Wanyama. The midfielder has been linked to several top European clubs, and providing he's not stolen in January, he'll be asked to be Celtic's main enforcer and prevent Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio from dominating the midfield. Good luck with that.

Juventus: Sebastian Giovinco. Their midfield may be all-conquering, but Juventus can be a bit blunt at times, and they'll need the trickery and imagination of Giovinco to unlock what is certain to be a determined defensive effort from the Scots.

Matchup to watch

Gary Hooper vs. Giorgio Chiellini - Hooper hasn't been in the best of form so far this season for Celtic, but he's still almost certain to start and will be hoping to escape the attention of Juventus' main backline enforcer to see if he can steal a precious goal for the Hoops.

Prediction

Juventus to win, but after a difficult fight. Juve will have the home tie second, and it's certainly feasible that they'll lose or draw the first leg at Celtic Park, but should find a way to prevail in the end. It's probably going to be heartbreak for the Hoops, but after their games against Barcelona, anything is possible.

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