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Ange Postecoglou challenges Celtic to make their mark on the Champions League

Ange Postecoglou’s side travel to Germany this week (Steve Welsh/PA)
Ange Postecoglou’s side travel to Germany this week (Steve Welsh/PA)

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has challenged his team to make their mark on the Champions League after a promising reintroduction to the tournament which has delivered limited rewards.

The Scottish champions travel to Germany for the first part of their double header against RB Leipzig on Wednesday with one point from their first two games.

Celtic caused Real Madrid problems before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat against the holders and then passed up a series of chances in a 1-1 away draw against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Postecoglou said of the European campaign so far on Celtic TV: “It’s been good, I would have enjoyed it more if we’d won, obviously, because you want to win games of football.

“But it’s just great to be performing at that level again and it’s where the club needs to be, wants to be. Now the challenge for us is to grow every time we’re out there.

“I guess for the players, that initial excitement in the first game, the buzz of being in the Champions League, particularly here at home playing against Real Madrid was fantastic, but now we’ve done that, it’s about ‘let’s make an impact at that level’.

“It doesn’t mean the challenge is getting any easier, because Leipzig away is a pretty tough challenge, but now it’s about really wanting us to be present at that stage, to be competitive at that stage and growing every time we’re out there.”

Celtic have a point more than Leipzig, who lost to two late goals in Spain after a 4-1 home defeat by Shakhtar ultimately cost Domenico Tedesco his job.

His replacement, Marco Rose, has led Leipzig to two commanding home wins in the Bundesliga, against Borussia Dortmund and Bochum, either side of a 3-0 away defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Postecoglou said: “They had a little bit of a disrupted start to the season.  But the change of manager seems to have sparked them a little bit. All the traditional trademarks of their football are there, they’ve got a lot of speed, very dynamic and in terms of transition football very quick.

“When you’re playing away in the Champions League there’s always a massive challenge to overcome those hurdles. But I think it will be a good game for us to again measure our football, measure ourselves and we’ll be ready for it.”