UCL Preview: Jozo Simunovic out for Celtic against Bayern Munich

Celtic are without defender Jozo Simunovic for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Bayern Munich.

The Bosnia international is struggling with a hamstring problem and did not travel to Germany.

Captain Scott Brown and fellow midfielder Stuart Armstrong are fit again, providing manager Brendan Rodgers with “a huge boost”.

Bayern Munich are missing France winger Franck Ribery and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who are both out long-term.

Javi Martinez and Juan Bernat are also sidelined but Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal has recovered from a knock picked up on international duty.

World Cup-winning central defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are in line to play in the tournament for the first time during this campaign, while Sven Ulreich continues to deputise for Neuer.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben is set for his 100th Champions League match, while Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is in great form with 18 goals in 16 appearances for club and country this term.

“We know we are playing against a good team that can break quickly,” said Boateng. “They have some very good players. But we want to start quickly and take the game to them in our own stadium.”

Celtic opened Group B with a crushing 5-0 home loss to Paris St-Germain but bounced back with a 3-0 win away to Anderlecht.

Bayern beat the Belgians in their opening match then lost 3-0 at PSG, with boss Carlo Ancelotti sacked in the aftermath of the defeat in Paris.

Jupp Heynckes has taken over for a fourth time, having led Bayern to an historic Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble in 2012-13.

The 72-year-old coaches his first European game since winning the 2013 final at Wembley.

Currently second in the Bundesliga, Bayern hammered Freiburg 5-0 in Heynckes’ first match on Saturday, while Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic edged to a 1-0 home win over Dundee – stretching their unbeaten domestic run to 59 matches.

“They have so many world-class players that can damage us,” said Celtic winger Scott Sinclair. “But that shouldn’t faze us.

“We come here with the confidence and belief that we can get a win. Winning away from home for the first time in many years has really given us belief.”

Brown has not played since the victory at Anderlecht, missing the conclusion to Scotland’s failed World Cup qualifying bid and two league matches for Celtic.

Defender Mikael Lustig and midfielder Tom Rogic were rested at the weekend and may well return to Rodgers’ starting line-up.

With Eric Sviatchenko absent since early August, the Celtic boss must decide if Lustig moves from right-back to partner centre-half Dedryck Boyata, while holding midfielder Nir Bitton has been utilised at the back this season.

Anthony Ralston, who started against PSG, is also out with an injury, limiting the visitors’ options at full-back, with Cristian Gamboa making his first appearance of the season against Dundee.

MATCH STATS

  • Celtic met Bayern Munich in the 2003-04 group stage, with the Germans taking four points, following a 2-1 home victory and a 0-0 in Glasgow
  • Bayern’s last game against Scottish opposition was a 5-1 home win over Aberdeen in the 2007-08 Uefa Cup for a 7-3 aggregate score
  • Celtic have never won away to a Bundesliga club (D3 L7)
  • Bayern have won their past four matches against Scottish visitors in Munich and are unbeaten at home against clubs from Scotland (W5 D3)
  • The win at Anderlecht was Celtic’s first for 17 European group stage fixtures in the Champions League or Europa League (D7 L9)
  • Bayern have won 10 consecutive group home games since a 3-2 defeat by Manchester City in December 2013
  • After beating Stuttgart 3-1 in the 2002-03 Uefa Cup, Celtic are on a seven-game winless run, home and away, against German clubs (D3 L4)

Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia)

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