UCL Qualification: MFF v Celtic 2nd Leg Preview
One thing I neglected to mention in my opening preview, and purposely left out of my game recap is that Rosenberg was suspended for the first leg. I hope MFF is not over-confident about his return, but he is one of the remaining starters from last year’s run, and at 32, will bring some experience to the team to make sure they don’t throw things away needlessly.
After losing 1-0 this weekend at BK Häcken, MFF shouldn’t be over-confident. Many of the same players played the weekend as against Celtic. Tinnerholm played 90 in each, as did Berget, Árnason and Lewicki. Others played parts in each game.
Djurdjić (aka Đurđić) was rested at the weekend, and while at 6’1” he’s not a giant, he was big enough to bring down the corner that let to the second MFF goal in the first leg. Yotun (Peruvian international) and Bengtsson were also rested at the weekend.
Despite playing another 90, one expects Tinnerholm to be playing on the right, though Wikipedia conflicts with SoccerWay on how safe his spot is. The rested players should play, along with Rosenberg. Another than some minor injuries keeping people out of Saturdays match, the team is healthy.
While much was made (by others) about Rosenberg’s suspension in the first leg, Berget leads the team in goals (tied in league play with Rosenberg). At 24, if MFF makes it to the group stages again, expect Berget to be sold like Magnus Eriksson was last year. That said, Berget has already had his chances at the likes of Celtic, Udinese, and Cardiff City, so maybe he will have seen enough of life outside of Scandinavia. FWIW, Eriksson is actually back in Scandinavia after a short spell in China.
This weekend Celtic rested a lot of players, yet won 3-1. Whether this says something about the strength of Celtic or the weakness of the Scottish game, I suppose tomorrow will go a long way in saying. The Allsvenskan is not a top world league, but is ranked 20th in Europe, ahead of Scotland at 24. Expect Celtic to play with much the same lineup. I’m not going to spend as much time with them because it is easy enough to find English-language write-ups of Celtic.
While I was optimistic about MFF’s chances after the opening tie, the weekend result has left serious doubt in my mind. The form MFF had found is now gone, but looking at their form table is a bit like a Jackson Pollock. The good news is they haven’t lost three in a row this calendar year. The bad news is a draw doesn’t see them through. They need a 1-0, 2-1, or 3-2 (or better) in regulation to stay alive or go through. If I have to pick a score, I’m going to say 2-1 to MFF, but I’d not be shocked by a draw.