Preview: Barcelona vs Celtic

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Leo Messi in action vs Celtic in a Champions League fixture in 2013

Barcelona kick off their 2016-2017 pre season with a match against one half of the old firm in Ireland. Barcelona have faced Celtic several times in recent memory in the Champions League with the Scottish outfit providing a stern test on a few occasions. But whilst the Blaugrana are generally a settled team with no fewer than 10 starters from last season expected to remain with the club, Celtic are very much a side in transition under new coach Brendon Rodgers. Things have started far from smoothly for the Bhoys with embarrassing away results to Lincoln Red Imps and Astana in the Champions League qualification games thus far.

Recent Head to Head:

2013/2014

UCL Group Stage

Dec 2013 Barcelona 6 Celtic 1

Oct 2013 Celtic 0 Barcelona 1

2012/2013

UCL Group Stage

Nov 2012 Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Oct 2012 Barcelona 2 Celtic 1

Key Man Watch

Denis Suarez: Having rejoined Barcelona after a successful spell with Villarreal Denis should get an early opportunity to stake his claim on a place in the first team with Rafinha in Brazil for the Olympics and Iniesta, Busquets, Mascherano and Rakitic still on vacation.

Moussa Dembele: The French u-20 striker joined on a deal from Fulham this summer. The highly rated youngster would love to put on a show and score his maiden goal in arguably the biggest game of his career to date.

Possible starting xi:

Masip; Vidal; Marlon; Mathieu; Sergi Roberto; Denis; Samper; Arda; Messi; Suarez; Munir

Prediction: Celtic will have one eye on their midweek return fixture against Astana in the Champions League. Look for Barcelona to stroll to a victory in this one. Barcelona 4 Celtic 1

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