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Brendan Rodgers: 'I'd rather lose playing the Celtic way than sit and defend for 90 minutes and still lose'

In other circumstances, it would be no revelation if Celtic exhibited the symptoms of shell shock as a consequence of their European expeditions. In the space of 15 months they have endured defeat by the most minuscule opponents they have faced at this level – Lincoln Red Imps – along with their worst European loss, a 7-0 drubbing by Barcelona in the Nou Camp, and their heaviest home reverse, a 5-0 beating by Paris St-Germain. Their latest pounding was administered by Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, when the 3-0 score belied a contest that easily could have finished with the Bundesliga side ahead by double that margin. Brendan Rodgers and his players, however, are able to sustain such wounds without the legacy of disfiguring scar tissue because of their bipolar existence. If they prevail against Hibernian in the Betfred Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Saturday, the Hoops will record their 60th successive unbeaten domestic fixture, a sequence that has included half-a-dozen wins over Rangers, including two 5-1 drubbings, the second of which set a record for a Celtic victory at Ibrox. The accumulation of home comforts includes the three Scottish honours but, despite total command of their native domain, Celtic are cast in the role of impoverished neighbours compared to Champions League powers such as Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich. It is not impossible for them to get beyond the group stage, as Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon proved during their time in charge in the east end of Glasgow, but the chances of a repeat grow slimmer with every transfer deal priced in hundreds of millions of euros amongst the bloated ‘big five’ nations. Celtic suffered a beating in Bavaria Credit: REUTERS So it was that, while their heroes were chasing shadows against Bayern, the Celtic support kept up a constant stream of choruses in their lofty perch at the Allianz Arena. They were celebrating the simple fact of being present, events on the field notwithstanding. Rodgers, meanwhile, has a refrain of his own, to the effect that his squad are in a constant process of development. The evidence in his favour is that, after the competitive hiatus under his predecessor, Ronny Deila, the Northern Irishman has twice successfully steered his men through half-a-dozen hazardous qualifiers and, thanks to a merited 3-0 victory over Anderlecht in Brussels, Celtic are favourites to secure third spot in Group B and a place in the Europa League, where the demands are likely to be more congenial. It was this context which allowed Rodgers to be bullish in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat, despite the decision not to alter his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, even when it meant a match-up with a Bayern side who were better equipped in every position – and who had been incited to demonstrate the mismatch by Jupp Heyncke’s return for a third spell in charge. The concession of three cheap goals and the narrow avoidance of greater damage prompted charges of naivety or presumption directed towards Rodgers but his retort was that his defenders were below par and that, if defeat was always the probable outcome, he would rather supervise an expansive game than a protective huddle. Bendan Rodgers watches his team take a beating Credit: REUTERS “I’d rather lose playing how we want to play and how we want to work, as opposed to sit in and defending for 90 minutes and still lose if that’s the case,” he said. Of course, the proposition can be advanced that if Celtic had concentrated on closing available space in their own half, thus narrowing the percentages in Bayern’s favour, they would have created the circumstances which can produce menacing counterattacks. Rodgers bridled somewhat when it was suggested that he could have been more pragmatic. “There was nothing about being pragmatic for the goals we conceded. We didn’t defend our box well enough from crosses coming in – we can do better with those,” he said. Celtic’s destiny in the group is unlikely to be affected by Bayern’s Halloween visit to Glasgow, but they will be expected to make a better fist of it on their own turf. Asked if he believed that he and his team-mates had the capacity to hurt Heynckes’s players at home, goalkeeper Craig Gordon said: “We are going to try but it is a big task. “They have got some world-class players and they will be looking to go quite far into this competition and try to win it. It was always going to be difficult. There are better teams than us who will be beaten 3-0 in Munich.” That may be true, but another drubbing at home, such as was inflicted by PSG, would be markedly less palatable. Pragmatism is not usually romantic but, against manifestly superior opponents, it need not be shorn of virtue.

Brendan Rodgers: 'I'd rather lose playing the Celtic way than sit and defend for 90 minutes and still lose'

In other circumstances, it would be no revelation if Celtic exhibited the symptoms of shell shock as a consequence of their European expeditions. In the space of 15 months they have endured defeat by the most minuscule opponents they have faced at this level – Lincoln Red Imps – along with their worst European loss, a 7-0 drubbing by Barcelona in the Nou Camp, and their heaviest home reverse, a 5-0 beating by Paris St-Germain. Their latest pounding was administered by Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, when the 3-0 score belied a contest that easily could have finished with the Bundesliga side ahead by double that margin. Brendan Rodgers and his players, however, are able to sustain such wounds without the legacy of disfiguring scar tissue because of their bipolar existence. If they prevail against Hibernian in the Betfred Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Saturday, the Hoops will record their 60th successive unbeaten domestic fixture, a sequence that has included half-a-dozen wins over Rangers, including two 5-1 drubbings, the second of which set a record for a Celtic victory at Ibrox. The accumulation of home comforts includes the three Scottish honours but, despite total command of their native domain, Celtic are cast in the role of impoverished neighbours compared to Champions League powers such as Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich. It is not impossible for them to get beyond the group stage, as Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon proved during their time in charge in the east end of Glasgow, but the chances of a repeat grow slimmer with every transfer deal priced in hundreds of millions of euros amongst the bloated ‘big five’ nations. Celtic suffered a beating in Bavaria Credit: REUTERS So it was that, while their heroes were chasing shadows against Bayern, the Celtic support kept up a constant stream of choruses in their lofty perch at the Allianz Arena. They were celebrating the simple fact of being present, events on the field notwithstanding. Rodgers, meanwhile, has a refrain of his own, to the effect that his squad are in a constant process of development. The evidence in his favour is that, after the competitive hiatus under his predecessor, Ronny Deila, the Northern Irishman has twice successfully steered his men through half-a-dozen hazardous qualifiers and, thanks to a merited 3-0 victory over Anderlecht in Brussels, Celtic are favourites to secure third spot in Group B and a place in the Europa League, where the demands are likely to be more congenial. It was this context which allowed Rodgers to be bullish in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat, despite the decision not to alter his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, even when it meant a match-up with a Bayern side who were better equipped in every position – and who had been incited to demonstrate the mismatch by Jupp Heyncke’s return for a third spell in charge. The concession of three cheap goals and the narrow avoidance of greater damage prompted charges of naivety or presumption directed towards Rodgers but his retort was that his defenders were below par and that, if defeat was always the probable outcome, he would rather supervise an expansive game than a protective huddle. Bendan Rodgers watches his team take a beating Credit: REUTERS “I’d rather lose playing how we want to play and how we want to work, as opposed to sit in and defending for 90 minutes and still lose if that’s the case,” he said. Of course, the proposition can be advanced that if Celtic had concentrated on closing available space in their own half, thus narrowing the percentages in Bayern’s favour, they would have created the circumstances which can produce menacing counterattacks. Rodgers bridled somewhat when it was suggested that he could have been more pragmatic. “There was nothing about being pragmatic for the goals we conceded. We didn’t defend our box well enough from crosses coming in – we can do better with those,” he said. Celtic’s destiny in the group is unlikely to be affected by Bayern’s Halloween visit to Glasgow, but they will be expected to make a better fist of it on their own turf. Asked if he believed that he and his team-mates had the capacity to hurt Heynckes’s players at home, goalkeeper Craig Gordon said: “We are going to try but it is a big task. “They have got some world-class players and they will be looking to go quite far into this competition and try to win it. It was always going to be difficult. There are better teams than us who will be beaten 3-0 in Munich.” That may be true, but another drubbing at home, such as was inflicted by PSG, would be markedly less palatable. Pragmatism is not usually romantic but, against manifestly superior opponents, it need not be shorn of virtue.

Brendan Rodgers: 'I'd rather lose playing the Celtic way than sit and defend for 90 minutes and still lose'

In other circumstances, it would be no revelation if Celtic exhibited the symptoms of shell shock as a consequence of their European expeditions. In the space of 15 months they have endured defeat by the most minuscule opponents they have faced at this level – Lincoln Red Imps – along with their worst European loss, a 7-0 drubbing by Barcelona in the Nou Camp, and their heaviest home reverse, a 5-0 beating by Paris St-Germain. Their latest pounding was administered by Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, when the 3-0 score belied a contest that easily could have finished with the Bundesliga side ahead by double that margin. Brendan Rodgers and his players, however, are able to sustain such wounds without the legacy of disfiguring scar tissue because of their bipolar existence. If they prevail against Hibernian in the Betfred Scottish League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Saturday, the Hoops will record their 60th successive unbeaten domestic fixture, a sequence that has included half-a-dozen wins over Rangers, including two 5-1 drubbings, the second of which set a record for a Celtic victory at Ibrox. The accumulation of home comforts includes the three Scottish honours but, despite total command of their native domain, Celtic are cast in the role of impoverished neighbours compared to Champions League powers such as Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich. It is not impossible for them to get beyond the group stage, as Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon proved during their time in charge in the east end of Glasgow, but the chances of a repeat grow slimmer with every transfer deal priced in hundreds of millions of euros amongst the bloated ‘big five’ nations. Celtic suffered a beating in Bavaria Credit: REUTERS So it was that, while their heroes were chasing shadows against Bayern, the Celtic support kept up a constant stream of choruses in their lofty perch at the Allianz Arena. They were celebrating the simple fact of being present, events on the field notwithstanding. Rodgers, meanwhile, has a refrain of his own, to the effect that his squad are in a constant process of development. The evidence in his favour is that, after the competitive hiatus under his predecessor, Ronny Deila, the Northern Irishman has twice successfully steered his men through half-a-dozen hazardous qualifiers and, thanks to a merited 3-0 victory over Anderlecht in Brussels, Celtic are favourites to secure third spot in Group B and a place in the Europa League, where the demands are likely to be more congenial. It was this context which allowed Rodgers to be bullish in the aftermath of Wednesday’s defeat, despite the decision not to alter his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, even when it meant a match-up with a Bayern side who were better equipped in every position – and who had been incited to demonstrate the mismatch by Jupp Heyncke’s return for a third spell in charge. The concession of three cheap goals and the narrow avoidance of greater damage prompted charges of naivety or presumption directed towards Rodgers but his retort was that his defenders were below par and that, if defeat was always the probable outcome, he would rather supervise an expansive game than a protective huddle. Bendan Rodgers watches his team take a beating Credit: REUTERS “I’d rather lose playing how we want to play and how we want to work, as opposed to sit in and defending for 90 minutes and still lose if that’s the case,” he said. Of course, the proposition can be advanced that if Celtic had concentrated on closing available space in their own half, thus narrowing the percentages in Bayern’s favour, they would have created the circumstances which can produce menacing counterattacks. Rodgers bridled somewhat when it was suggested that he could have been more pragmatic. “There was nothing about being pragmatic for the goals we conceded. We didn’t defend our box well enough from crosses coming in – we can do better with those,” he said. Celtic’s destiny in the group is unlikely to be affected by Bayern’s Halloween visit to Glasgow, but they will be expected to make a better fist of it on their own turf. Asked if he believed that he and his team-mates had the capacity to hurt Heynckes’s players at home, goalkeeper Craig Gordon said: “We are going to try but it is a big task. “They have got some world-class players and they will be looking to go quite far into this competition and try to win it. It was always going to be difficult. There are better teams than us who will be beaten 3-0 in Munich.” That may be true, but another drubbing at home, such as was inflicted by PSG, would be markedly less palatable. Pragmatism is not usually romantic but, against manifestly superior opponents, it need not be shorn of virtue.

Wolfsburg's secret to unbeaten streak? Brushing teeth after matches!

Martin Schmidt has helped to oversee a reversal in fortune for the Bundesliga club, with the Swiss coach favouring some rather unusual methods

Wolfsburg's secret to unbeaten streak? Brushing teeth after matches!

Martin Schmidt has helped to oversee a reversal in fortune for the Bundesliga club, with the Swiss coach favouring some rather unusual methods

Workers remove the advertising of Sky TV provider after the German Bundesliga second leg relegation playoff soccer match between Karlsruhe SC and Hamburg SV in Karlsruhe

Workers remove the advertising of Sky TV provider after the German Bundesliga second leg relegation playoff soccer match between Karlsruhe SC and Hamburg SV in Karlsruhe, Germany June 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

Workers remove the advertising of Sky TV provider after the German Bundesliga second leg relegation playoff soccer match between Karlsruhe SC and Hamburg SV in Karlsruhe

Workers remove the advertising of Sky TV provider after the German Bundesliga second leg relegation playoff soccer match between Karlsruhe SC and Hamburg SV in Karlsruhe, Germany June 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

Mexicans Abroad Minute: Gudino makes history in UEFA Champions League

The 21-year-old goalkeeper was thrust into action and helped APOEL to a draw against a Bundesliga side

Andreas Christensen can be an advert for Chelsea's loan system if they continue to trust him

Andreas Christensen will no doubt spend Thursday morning analysing whether he could have done more to stop Roma’s three goals, but Chelsea must put their faith in the brilliant young Dane to learn on the job. Having conceded three goals at home to Roma, Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte may well be tempted to go back to his old heads against Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. But this is in fact the perfect time for Conte and Chelsea to prove they are willing to invest in Christensen and show young players can be given the time and patience to flourish at Stamford Bridge. The first goal, which deflected off him from an Aleksandar Kolarov shot, was simply unlucky for Christensen. The second, which Edin Dzeko brilliantly volleyed into the net, was a lesson in how the top strikers prey on just the smallest of errors. Dzeko then got in between Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta to head Roma’s third, but this was by no means a night to forget for the 21-year-old. Christensen was given a real test by Edin Dzeko Credit: Getty images Until the former Manchester City striker’s superb volley, Christensen had been on top in his battle with Dzeko and he recovered his composure superbly for the final 20 minutes. Shortly before Dzeko’s first goal, Christensen had produced a moment of real quality to show exactly why Chelsea must tolerate the odd lapse from their rookie. He took the ball away from Dzeko, facing his own goal, turned out of trouble and found Tiemoue Bakayoko. Conte would have been purring had he not been berating referee Damir Skomina, the fourth official and just about anyone within six yards of him about an earlier foul. Chelsea 2 - 2 Roma (Edin Dzeko, 64 min) Three years ago a certain John Terry claimed Christensen was “one of the future men” for Chelsea and it appears his time has come. He is no longer the future. He is very much the present. Pep Guardiola sought out Christensen to whisper words of praise into his ear at the end of Manchester City’s victory at Stamford Bridge and the Spaniard would have been as surprised as the Chelsea fans to have seen the player benched for Chelsea’s next game against Crystal Palace. But restored to the starting line-up for the visit of Roma, Christensen is becoming the advert for how Chelsea’s loan philosophy can work, having spent two years in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach. Christensen spent a couple of years on loan in Germany Credit: AP He earned a first-half round of applause from the Chelsea fans inside Stamford Bridge, when he got to the ball ahead of Dzeko and put the home team on the front foot. Christensen’s ability to pass and carry the ball out of defence is a feature of his game. He is more John Stones than John Terry, but he was not afraid to bark instructions to Gary Cahill and Azpiliceuta – Chelsea’s captain and vice-captain. As with all young players, Christensen will make the odd mistake or suffer at the hands of a more experienced striker. But Chelsea cannot allow him to join those who have grown frustrated by a lack of opportunities. If they do so, then the club’s Academy may as well be shut down.

Andreas Christensen can be an advert for Chelsea's loan system if they continue to trust him

Andreas Christensen will no doubt spend Thursday morning analysing whether he could have done more to stop Roma’s three goals, but Chelsea must put their faith in the brilliant young Dane to learn on the job. Having conceded three goals at home to Roma, Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte may well be tempted to go back to his old heads against Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. But this is in fact the perfect time for Conte and Chelsea to prove they are willing to invest in Christensen and show young players can be given the time and patience to flourish at Stamford Bridge. The first goal, which deflected off him from an Aleksandar Kolarov shot, was simply unlucky for Christensen. The second, which Edin Dzeko brilliantly volleyed into the net, was a lesson in how the top strikers prey on just the smallest of errors. Dzeko then got in between Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta to head Roma’s third, but this was by no means a night to forget for the 21-year-old. Christensen was given a real test by Edin Dzeko Credit: Getty images Until the former Manchester City striker’s superb volley, Christensen had been on top in his battle with Dzeko and he recovered his composure superbly for the final 20 minutes. Shortly before Dzeko’s first goal, Christensen had produced a moment of real quality to show exactly why Chelsea must tolerate the odd lapse from their rookie. He took the ball away from Dzeko, facing his own goal, turned out of trouble and found Tiemoue Bakayoko. Conte would have been purring had he not been berating referee Damir Skomina, the fourth official and just about anyone within six yards of him about an earlier foul. Chelsea 2 - 2 Roma (Edin Dzeko, 64 min) Three years ago a certain John Terry claimed Christensen was “one of the future men” for Chelsea and it appears his time has come. He is no longer the future. He is very much the present. Pep Guardiola sought out Christensen to whisper words of praise into his ear at the end of Manchester City’s victory at Stamford Bridge and the Spaniard would have been as surprised as the Chelsea fans to have seen the player benched for Chelsea’s next game against Crystal Palace. But restored to the starting line-up for the visit of Roma, Christensen is becoming the advert for how Chelsea’s loan philosophy can work, having spent two years in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach. Christensen spent a couple of years on loan in Germany Credit: AP He earned a first-half round of applause from the Chelsea fans inside Stamford Bridge, when he got to the ball ahead of Dzeko and put the home team on the front foot. Christensen’s ability to pass and carry the ball out of defence is a feature of his game. He is more John Stones than John Terry, but he was not afraid to bark instructions to Gary Cahill and Azpiliceuta – Chelsea’s captain and vice-captain. As with all young players, Christensen will make the odd mistake or suffer at the hands of a more experienced striker. But Chelsea cannot allow him to join those who have grown frustrated by a lack of opportunities. If they do so, then the club’s Academy may as well be shut down.

Andreas Christensen can be an advert for Chelsea's loan system if they continue to trust him

Andreas Christensen will no doubt spend Thursday morning analysing whether he could have done more to stop Roma’s three goals, but Chelsea must put their faith in the brilliant young Dane to learn on the job. Having conceded three goals at home to Roma, Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte may well be tempted to go back to his old heads against Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. But this is in fact the perfect time for Conte and Chelsea to prove they are willing to invest in Christensen and show young players can be given the time and patience to flourish at Stamford Bridge. The first goal, which deflected off him from an Aleksandar Kolarov shot, was simply unlucky for Christensen. The second, which Edin Dzeko brilliantly volleyed into the net, was a lesson in how the top strikers prey on just the smallest of errors. Dzeko then got in between Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta to head Roma’s third, but this was by no means a night to forget for the 21-year-old. Christensen was given a real test by Edin Dzeko Credit: Getty images Until the former Manchester City striker’s superb volley, Christensen had been on top in his battle with Dzeko and he recovered his composure superbly for the final 20 minutes. Shortly before Dzeko’s first goal, Christensen had produced a moment of real quality to show exactly why Chelsea must tolerate the odd lapse from their rookie. He took the ball away from Dzeko, facing his own goal, turned out of trouble and found Tiemoue Bakayoko. Conte would have been purring had he not been berating referee Damir Skomina, the fourth official and just about anyone within six yards of him about an earlier foul. Chelsea 2 - 2 Roma (Edin Dzeko, 64 min) Three years ago a certain John Terry claimed Christensen was “one of the future men” for Chelsea and it appears his time has come. He is no longer the future. He is very much the present. Pep Guardiola sought out Christensen to whisper words of praise into his ear at the end of Manchester City’s victory at Stamford Bridge and the Spaniard would have been as surprised as the Chelsea fans to have seen the player benched for Chelsea’s next game against Crystal Palace. But restored to the starting line-up for the visit of Roma, Christensen is becoming the advert for how Chelsea’s loan philosophy can work, having spent two years in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach. Christensen spent a couple of years on loan in Germany Credit: AP He earned a first-half round of applause from the Chelsea fans inside Stamford Bridge, when he got to the ball ahead of Dzeko and put the home team on the front foot. Christensen’s ability to pass and carry the ball out of defence is a feature of his game. He is more John Stones than John Terry, but he was not afraid to bark instructions to Gary Cahill and Azpiliceuta – Chelsea’s captain and vice-captain. As with all young players, Christensen will make the odd mistake or suffer at the hands of a more experienced striker. But Chelsea cannot allow him to join those who have grown frustrated by a lack of opportunities. If they do so, then the club’s Academy may as well be shut down.

LIVE: Bayern Munich vs Celtic

Brendan Rodgers's side travel to the Allianz Arena to take on the misfiring Bundesliga champions - follow all the action LIVE!

LIVE: Bayern Munich vs Celtic

Brendan Rodgers's side travel to the Allianz Arena to take on the misfiring Bundesliga champions - follow all the action LIVE!

LIVE: Bayern Munich vs Celtic

Brendan Rodgers's side travel to the Allianz Arena to take on the misfiring Bundesliga champions - follow all the action LIVE!

Hot or Not - Robben enjoys playing against Hamburg

A look at who's hot and who's not ahead of matchweek nine in the Bundesliga.

Hot or Not - Robben enjoys playing against Hamburg

A look at who's hot and who's not ahead of matchweek nine in the Bundesliga.

Hot or Not - Robben enjoys playing against Hamburg

A look at who's hot and who's not ahead of matchweek nine in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich's record vs Scottish opposition

Celtic are tasked with tackling the Bundesliga champions on German soil, so we take a look at how Bayern have previously fared against Scottish clubs

Bayern Munich's record vs Scottish opposition

Celtic are tasked with tackling the Bundesliga champions on German soil, so we take a look at how Bayern have previously fared against Scottish clubs

Bayern Munich's record vs Scottish opposition

Celtic are tasked with tackling the Bundesliga champions on German soil, so we take a look at how Bayern have previously fared against Scottish clubs

Bayern Munich's record vs Scottish opposition

Celtic are tasked with tackling the Bundesliga champions on German soil, so we take a look at how Bayern have previously fared against Scottish clubs

Bayern Munich's record vs Scottish opposition

Celtic are tasked with tackling the Bundesliga champions on German soil, so we take a look at how Bayern have previously fared against Scottish clubs

Brendan Rodgers demands confident Celtic try to impose game on trip to Bayern Munich

German soil has been notably infertile for Celtic, who have never left the country with a victory, but the possibility of an autumn harvest has animated Brendan Rodgers on the approach to Wednesday evening’s Champions League group-stage tie in the Allianz Arena. The double-header against Bayern offers Celtic the chance of a bonus, if one accepts the original premise that the Parkhead side would be engaged in a dogfight with Anderlecht for third place in Group B and a spot in the Europa League after Christmas. It is not the view taken by Rodgers. “You never really take that approach. You go into every single game you play believing you can win, that you can get something. “Football is not like basketball, where you maybe have 200-odd points. The ball can hit the ring and bounce out and that doesn’t necessarily have a big impact. In football it is slightly different and you never know what can happen in a game. “We go into every game believing we can get something and Wednesday night will be no different. We know the challenge. We know the change of mentality in their team and their world-class players, but we want to fight to get a result. That’s what we will try and do.” Brendan Rodgers wants Celtic to impose themselves Credit: GETTY IMAGES The possibility of greater reward was heightened by Celtic’s comfortable 3-0 win away to Anderlecht, which was the same margin achieved by Bayern at home to the Belgians. As they go into this encounter, both teams have three points, although Bayern have the better goal difference.     The ‘change of mentality’ at Bayern, mentioned by Rodgers, is a consequence of the dismissal of Carlo Ancellotti and the arrival of Jupp Heynckes, whose first league game in charge yielded a 5-0 home victory over Freiburg on Saturday. Heynckes, however, has ruled out Javi Martinez, Manuel Neuer and Juan Bernat, although he confirmed that Arturo Vidal had trained and would be part of his plans. Rodgers, too, has had to deal with the absence of Jozo Simunovic, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring strain and was left behind. When the Croatian-born central defender – who has now switched allegiance to Bosnia - has been paired with Dedryck Boyata, Celtic have looked significantly more capable in that department but the Bosnian’s chance of a sustained run in the team has been disrupted repeatedly by a variety of injuries. “He’s still young but if you want to have a career in the top flight then you have to be ready to play two or three games a week consistently over a period of time, so it’s unfortunate for Jozo,” Rodgers said. Bayern Munich are put through their paces Credit: GETTY IMAGES “I’m pretty clear in my mind what I’ll do. As a coach, you want that stability at your centre-half positions because you build your base around that set up and we’ve never been able to do that, which has meant trying at times to bring others in or change the shape.” Rodgers’ options are not wholly satisfactory. Erik Sviatchenko is not in favour, Cristian Gamboa – who made his first club appearance of the season on Saturday - would represent a gamble at right-back, but to pull Nir Bitton back from midfield would be even more of a risk against the supremely predatory Robert Lewandowski. The chances are then that Gamboa, who has at least played twice for Costa Rica, will come in and that Mikael Lustig will move infield to partner Boyata. Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, will have the opportunity to measure his impressive development at left-back against the trickery of Arjen Robben, although it would not be a revelation if the Dutch winger was switched to the left to face Gamboa. Despite disposing of Ancelotti, Bayern are only two points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table. Heynckes’ recall had more to do with their ambitions in the European arena and the belief that, despite Paris Saint-Germain’s colossal outlay in transfers, the Champions League trophy can still be brought back to Bavaria. “It is about winning for them, but it is also, like all of the big clubs, about how you win,” Rodgers said. “There is a demand on them here to win and they will be looking to go close in the competition this season but we have a duty to impose our game. “The beauty of this team is that we rise to the challenge. Each game we go into, we try and put on a positive performance and see what we get from that. We may or may not have as much of the ball as normal but we can certainly be a threat. “We have done that in European games and this is a great opportunity for us again to show that we have that nerve to play. Let’s see if we can take something from it.”

Brendan Rodgers demands confident Celtic try to impose game on trip to Bayern Munich

German soil has been notably infertile for Celtic, who have never left the country with a victory, but the possibility of an autumn harvest has animated Brendan Rodgers on the approach to Wednesday evening’s Champions League group-stage tie in the Allianz Arena. The double-header against Bayern offers Celtic the chance of a bonus, if one accepts the original premise that the Parkhead side would be engaged in a dogfight with Anderlecht for third place in Group B and a spot in the Europa League after Christmas. It is not the view taken by Rodgers. “You never really take that approach. You go into every single game you play believing you can win, that you can get something. “Football is not like basketball, where you maybe have 200-odd points. The ball can hit the ring and bounce out and that doesn’t necessarily have a big impact. In football it is slightly different and you never know what can happen in a game. “We go into every game believing we can get something and Wednesday night will be no different. We know the challenge. We know the change of mentality in their team and their world-class players, but we want to fight to get a result. That’s what we will try and do.” Brendan Rodgers wants Celtic to impose themselves Credit: GETTY IMAGES The possibility of greater reward was heightened by Celtic’s comfortable 3-0 win away to Anderlecht, which was the same margin achieved by Bayern at home to the Belgians. As they go into this encounter, both teams have three points, although Bayern have the better goal difference.     The ‘change of mentality’ at Bayern, mentioned by Rodgers, is a consequence of the dismissal of Carlo Ancellotti and the arrival of Jupp Heynckes, whose first league game in charge yielded a 5-0 home victory over Freiburg on Saturday. Heynckes, however, has ruled out Javi Martinez, Manuel Neuer and Juan Bernat, although he confirmed that Arturo Vidal had trained and would be part of his plans. Rodgers, too, has had to deal with the absence of Jozo Simunovic, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring strain and was left behind. When the Croatian-born central defender – who has now switched allegiance to Bosnia - has been paired with Dedryck Boyata, Celtic have looked significantly more capable in that department but the Bosnian’s chance of a sustained run in the team has been disrupted repeatedly by a variety of injuries. “He’s still young but if you want to have a career in the top flight then you have to be ready to play two or three games a week consistently over a period of time, so it’s unfortunate for Jozo,” Rodgers said. Bayern Munich are put through their paces Credit: GETTY IMAGES “I’m pretty clear in my mind what I’ll do. As a coach, you want that stability at your centre-half positions because you build your base around that set up and we’ve never been able to do that, which has meant trying at times to bring others in or change the shape.” Rodgers’ options are not wholly satisfactory. Erik Sviatchenko is not in favour, Cristian Gamboa – who made his first club appearance of the season on Saturday - would represent a gamble at right-back, but to pull Nir Bitton back from midfield would be even more of a risk against the supremely predatory Robert Lewandowski. The chances are then that Gamboa, who has at least played twice for Costa Rica, will come in and that Mikael Lustig will move infield to partner Boyata. Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, will have the opportunity to measure his impressive development at left-back against the trickery of Arjen Robben, although it would not be a revelation if the Dutch winger was switched to the left to face Gamboa. Despite disposing of Ancelotti, Bayern are only two points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table. Heynckes’ recall had more to do with their ambitions in the European arena and the belief that, despite Paris Saint-Germain’s colossal outlay in transfers, the Champions League trophy can still be brought back to Bavaria. “It is about winning for them, but it is also, like all of the big clubs, about how you win,” Rodgers said. “There is a demand on them here to win and they will be looking to go close in the competition this season but we have a duty to impose our game. “The beauty of this team is that we rise to the challenge. Each game we go into, we try and put on a positive performance and see what we get from that. We may or may not have as much of the ball as normal but we can certainly be a threat. “We have done that in European games and this is a great opportunity for us again to show that we have that nerve to play. Let’s see if we can take something from it.”

Brendan Rodgers demands confident Celtic try to impose game on trip to Bayern Munich

German soil has been notably infertile for Celtic, who have never left the country with a victory, but the possibility of an autumn harvest has animated Brendan Rodgers on the approach to Wednesday evening’s Champions League group-stage tie in the Allianz Arena. The double-header against Bayern offers Celtic the chance of a bonus, if one accepts the original premise that the Parkhead side would be engaged in a dogfight with Anderlecht for third place in Group B and a spot in the Europa League after Christmas. It is not the view taken by Rodgers. “You never really take that approach. You go into every single game you play believing you can win, that you can get something. “Football is not like basketball, where you maybe have 200-odd points. The ball can hit the ring and bounce out and that doesn’t necessarily have a big impact. In football it is slightly different and you never know what can happen in a game. “We go into every game believing we can get something and Wednesday night will be no different. We know the challenge. We know the change of mentality in their team and their world-class players, but we want to fight to get a result. That’s what we will try and do.” Brendan Rodgers wants Celtic to impose themselves Credit: GETTY IMAGES The possibility of greater reward was heightened by Celtic’s comfortable 3-0 win away to Anderlecht, which was the same margin achieved by Bayern at home to the Belgians. As they go into this encounter, both teams have three points, although Bayern have the better goal difference.     The ‘change of mentality’ at Bayern, mentioned by Rodgers, is a consequence of the dismissal of Carlo Ancellotti and the arrival of Jupp Heynckes, whose first league game in charge yielded a 5-0 home victory over Freiburg on Saturday. Heynckes, however, has ruled out Javi Martinez, Manuel Neuer and Juan Bernat, although he confirmed that Arturo Vidal had trained and would be part of his plans. Rodgers, too, has had to deal with the absence of Jozo Simunovic, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring strain and was left behind. When the Croatian-born central defender – who has now switched allegiance to Bosnia - has been paired with Dedryck Boyata, Celtic have looked significantly more capable in that department but the Bosnian’s chance of a sustained run in the team has been disrupted repeatedly by a variety of injuries. “He’s still young but if you want to have a career in the top flight then you have to be ready to play two or three games a week consistently over a period of time, so it’s unfortunate for Jozo,” Rodgers said. Bayern Munich are put through their paces Credit: GETTY IMAGES “I’m pretty clear in my mind what I’ll do. As a coach, you want that stability at your centre-half positions because you build your base around that set up and we’ve never been able to do that, which has meant trying at times to bring others in or change the shape.” Rodgers’ options are not wholly satisfactory. Erik Sviatchenko is not in favour, Cristian Gamboa – who made his first club appearance of the season on Saturday - would represent a gamble at right-back, but to pull Nir Bitton back from midfield would be even more of a risk against the supremely predatory Robert Lewandowski. The chances are then that Gamboa, who has at least played twice for Costa Rica, will come in and that Mikael Lustig will move infield to partner Boyata. Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, will have the opportunity to measure his impressive development at left-back against the trickery of Arjen Robben, although it would not be a revelation if the Dutch winger was switched to the left to face Gamboa. Despite disposing of Ancelotti, Bayern are only two points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table. Heynckes’ recall had more to do with their ambitions in the European arena and the belief that, despite Paris Saint-Germain’s colossal outlay in transfers, the Champions League trophy can still be brought back to Bavaria. “It is about winning for them, but it is also, like all of the big clubs, about how you win,” Rodgers said. “There is a demand on them here to win and they will be looking to go close in the competition this season but we have a duty to impose our game. “The beauty of this team is that we rise to the challenge. Each game we go into, we try and put on a positive performance and see what we get from that. We may or may not have as much of the ball as normal but we can certainly be a threat. “We have done that in European games and this is a great opportunity for us again to show that we have that nerve to play. Let’s see if we can take something from it.”

Borussia Monchengladbach Candidly Poke Fun at Phil Jones' Customary Gurn on Twitter

​Straining every last fibre of the human body is all part of being a professional footballer at times, and for Manchester United's Phil Jones in particular, the level of endeavouring commitment to stunt opposing opportunities can often be seen through his remarkably anxious, troubled facial expressions. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach also appear to have a gurn of their own within their squad in Denis Zakaria, and with Jones being the undisputed king of the constipated face, the...

Borussia Monchengladbach Candidly Poke Fun at Phil Jones' Customary Gurn on Twitter

​Straining every last fibre of the human body is all part of being a professional footballer at times, and for Manchester United's Phil Jones in particular, the level of endeavouring commitment to stunt opposing opportunities can often be seen through his remarkably anxious, troubled facial expressions. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach also appear to have a gurn of their own within their squad in Denis Zakaria, and with Jones being the undisputed king of the constipated face, the...

Borussia Monchengladbach Candidly Poke Fun at Phil Jones' Customary Gurn on Twitter

​Straining every last fibre of the human body is all part of being a professional footballer at times, and for Manchester United's Phil Jones in particular, the level of endeavouring commitment to stunt opposing opportunities can often be seen through his remarkably anxious, troubled facial expressions. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach also appear to have a gurn of their own within their squad in Denis Zakaria, and with Jones being the undisputed king of the constipated face, the...

Borussia Monchengladbach Candidly Poke Fun at Phil Jones' Customary Gurn on Twitter

​Straining every last fibre of the human body is all part of being a professional footballer at times, and for Manchester United's Phil Jones in particular, the level of endeavouring commitment to stunt opposing opportunities can often be seen through his remarkably anxious, troubled facial expressions. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach also appear to have a gurn of their own within their squad in Denis Zakaria, and with Jones being the undisputed king of the constipated face, the...

Bayern Munich's headcoach Jupp Heynckes took his side to the Champions League title in 2013 to complete the treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in the 2012/13 season

Bayern Munich's headcoach Jupp Heynckes took his side to the Champions League title in 2013 to complete the treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in the 2012/13 season

Bayern Munich's headcoach Jupp Heynckes took his side to the Champions League title in 2013 to complete the treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in the 2012/13 season (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

Bayern Munich's headcoach Jupp Heynckes took his side to the Champions League title in 2013 to complete the treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in the 2012/13 season

UCL LIVE: Liverpool Routs Maribor; Man City Leads Napoli; Madrid, Spurs Level

The Champions League group stage hits its halfway point for half of the teams in the field on Tuesday, with Matchday 3 kicking off with a few scintillating matchups.

Real Madrid hosts Tottenham in a clash of Group H leaders, while Manchester City welcomes Napoli to the Etihad, where two of Europe's most prolific attacks will go head-to-head.

Elsewhere, Besiktas will look to continue its impressive run in the competition at Monaco, while Christian Pulisic aims to rebound from the USA's World Cup qualifying disappointment in Borussia Dortmund's match in Cyprus, where the Bundesliga power seeks its first points in the group at APOEL.

Here is the full slate for today's matches (all begin at 2:45 p.m. ET):

Spartak Moscow vs. Sevilla

Maribor vs. Liverpool

Manchester City vs. Napoli

Feyenoord vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Monaco vs. Besiktas

RB Leipzig vs. Porto

Real Madrid vs. Tottenham

APOEL vs. Borussia Dortmund

Stay tuned here for live updates and highlights of goals and key plays (refresh for most recent updates).

LIVERPOOL SUPPLIES THE EXCLAMATION POINT

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold put the finishing touches on Liverpool's thrashing of Maribor, scoring the Reds' sixth and seventh of the day to make it 7-0 in Slovenia. The result, coupled with Spartak Moscow's result vs. Sevilla, will shoot Liverpool to the top of the group.

NAPOLI PULLS ONE BACK

Given the gift of a second penalty, Napoli happily took advantage, with Amadou Diawara beating Ederson from the spot to make it 2-1 at the Etihad in the 73rd minute.

APOEL STUNS DORTMUND–FOR A MOMENT

Dortmund figured it'd get back on track in the Champions League at lowly APOEL, but the Cypriot side has other ideas. Mickael Pote's goal just after the hour mark put Dortmund stunningly behind 1-0 and in need of a change in fortune–and fast. That came from its captain, as Sokratis Papastathopoulos finished off a pass from Mario Gotze five minutes later to make it 1-1.

SPARTAK PULLS AWAY

Spartak Moscow took another lead on Sevilla after conceding the equalizer, with Lorenzo Melgarejo scoring the go-ahead goal off Quincy Promes's assist in the 58th minute. It extended that lead to 3-1 soon after, with Denis Glushakov doing the honors and coming up with the vital insurance goal.

Luiz Adriano netted the fourth in the 74th minute, making it 4-1 and adding to the Russian champions' statement, which comes on the heels of drawing Liverpool on Matchday 2.

LLORIS ROBS BENZEMA

?Real Madrid looked like it would take a 2-1 lead in the second half, with Karim Benzema having a point-blank chance, but Hugo Lloris came to the rescue, with a full-extension kick save on the goal line. Just tremendous.

BESIKTAS TAKES ITS FIRST LEAD

Cenk Tosun scored his second of the day, giving Besiktas a 2-1 lead in the 54th minute at Monaco and putting the Turkish club in line for its third win in as many matches.

BERNARD SENDS SHAKHTAR AHEAD

?Bernard scored for a second time in response to Feyenoord's opener, giving Shakhtar Donetsk its first lead of the day, a 2-1 advantage.

FIRMINO MAKES IT HIGH FIVE FOR LIVERPOOL

Three points are going Liverpool's way. Roberto Firmino struck for his second of the day with a glancing header, making it 5-0 at Maribor.

RONALDO PK BRINGS REAL MADRID LEVEL

Serge Aurier gifted Real Madrid an opportunity to equalize after fouling Toni Kroos with a rash challenge, and Cristiano Ronaldo obliged, beating Hugo Lloris from the spot just minutes before halftime to make it 1-1 in Madrid.

SALAH MAKES IT FOUR

Mohamed Salah, fresh off becoming Egypt's hero in World Cup qualifying, boosted his own stock with his second goal of the day, as both he and Roberto Firmino converged on a cross at the far post before the former tapped home to give Liverpool a 4-0 lead over Maribor.

EDERSON SAVES MERTENS'S PK

Ederson bailed out his teammate, Kyle Walker, saving a penalty kick from Dries Mertens after the England fullback committed the foul. The save preserved Man City's 2-0 lead.

GOALS GALORE IN LEIPZIG

RB Leipzig scored twice in quick succession to seemingly pull away from Porto, but Ivan Marcano pulled one back just before halftime, and the two sides went into the locker room with the hosts leading 3-2. The match also featured this sensational show of skill from Jean-Kevin Augustin.

MONACO, BESIKTAS GO BLOW FOR BLOW

Monaco is looking to give Besiktas its first setback of the competition, and was on its way after Radamel Falcao's opener at the half-hour mark. But the in-form Cenk Tosun answered four minutes later on a wonderful header, making it 1-1.

VARANE OWN GOAL GIVES SPURS LEAD

All eyes were on Harry Kane at the Bernabeu, where it's speculated that Real Madrid will make a massive offer for the Tottenham star, and he made an impact in the 28th minute. Serge Aurier crossed for Kane, whose run prompted Raphael Varane to inadvertently direct the ball into his own goal to give Spurs a 1-0 lead in the Spanish capital.

Real Madrid had wasted an earlier chance, after Cristiano Ronaldo's header clanged off the post and Karim Benzema pulled the rebound wide of an empty net.

SEVILLA RECOVERS AFTER EARLY CONCESSION

It's never easy going on the road, but Sevilla, which entered the day atop Group E, expected a simpler match at Spartak Moscow. It went down early as Quincy Promes scored in the 18th minute, but Simon Kjaer responded in the 30th off the corner kick to make it 1-1.

SALAH MAKES IT THREE

It certainly appears to be Liverpool's day. After setting up Roberto Firmino for the opener, Mohamed Salah makes it 3-0 for Liverpool–with Firmino returning the favor–within 20 minutes at Maribor.

RB LEIPZIG, PORTO EXCHANGE EARLY GOALS

Willi Orban scored in the eighth minute for host RB Leipzig, but Vincent Aboubakar answered 10 minutes later off a throw-in sequence, bringing Porto level at 1-1 in their anticipated Group G clash.

MAN CITY CAN'T BE STOPPED

Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0, finishing off a sensational ball from Kevin De Bruyne to double the Manchester City advantage over Napoli at the 13-minute mark.

COUTINHO DOUBLES THE LIVERPOOL LEAD

It's been all Liverpool in Slovenia, where Philippe Coutinho doubled the advantage for Jurgen Klopp's side, scoring for a fourth straight game.

STERLING SCORES FIRST VS. NAPOLI

Manchester City's sizzling form continued early vs. Napoli at the Etihad, where Raheem Sterling pounced on a blocked shot to score the opener for the Premier League side.

FEYENOORD HOLDS RARE ADVANTAGE, GIVES IT UP

?Dutch champion Feyenoord has had a brutal start to the competition, losing its first two games to Man City and Napoli, but it got off to a good start against Shakhtar Donetsk, with Steven Berghuis scoring in the seventh minute. That didn't last all that long, though, with Bernard equalizing in the 24th minute.

FIRMINO GIVES LIVERPOOL EARLY LEAD

Roberto Firmino wasted no time, finishing off an early cross from Mohamed Salah on the counterattack to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

Here are the lineups for today's games:

Spartak Moscow vs. Sevilla

?

Maribor vs. Liverpool

Manchester City vs. Napoli

?

Feyenoord vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

?

Monaco vs. Besiktas

?

RB Leipzig vs. Porto

?

Real Madrid vs. Tottenham

?

APOEL vs. Borussia Dortmund

?

Matchday 3 concludes on Wednesday, with Chelsea-Roma highlighting the slate. PSG is also in action, at Anderlecht, while Jose Mourinho returns to Portugal as Manchester United meets Benfica.

Porto 'will give everything' for victory over RB Leipzig - Brahimi

The Blue and Whites tackle the Bundesliga side at the Red Bull Arena and the 27-year-old said the team wants nothing but a win

Porto 'will give everything' for victory over RB Leipzig - Brahimi

The Blue and Whites tackle the Bundesliga side at the Red Bull Arena and the 27-year-old said the team wants nothing but a win

PHOTO: Carlo Ancelotti Continues to Haunt Fans With Ex-Boss Featuring on Bayern Advent Calendar

​Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti's tenure at Bayern Munchen came to an abrupt end in late September, with a 3-0 defeat against PSG the Champions League the final nail in the coffin. Despite winning the Bundesliga in the 2016/17 season, reports of unrest with players along with a run of poor results meant his time in Munich was over. However, despite leaving the Bavarian side, his face will still be around until Christmas. That's because he is on Bayern Munich's official advent calendar for...

PHOTO: Carlo Ancelotti Continues to Haunt Fans With Ex-Boss Featuring on Bayern Advent Calendar

​Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti's tenure at Bayern Munchen came to an abrupt end in late September, with a 3-0 defeat against PSG the Champions League the final nail in the coffin. Despite winning the Bundesliga in the 2016/17 season, reports of unrest with players along with a run of poor results meant his time in Munich was over. However, despite leaving the Bavarian side, his face will still be around until Christmas. That's because he is on Bayern Munich's official advent calendar for...

PHOTO: Carlo Ancelotti Continues to Haunt Fans With Ex-Boss Featuring on Bayern Advent Calendar

​Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti's tenure at Bayern Munchen came to an abrupt end in late September, with a 3-0 defeat against PSG the Champions League the final nail in the coffin. Despite winning the Bundesliga in the 2016/17 season, reports of unrest with players along with a run of poor results meant his time in Munich was over. However, despite leaving the Bavarian side, his face will still be around until Christmas. That's because he is on Bayern Munich's official advent calendar for...

PHOTO: Carlo Ancelotti Continues to Haunt Fans With Ex-Boss Featuring on Bayern Advent Calendar

​Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti's tenure at Bayern Munchen came to an abrupt end in late September, with a 3-0 defeat against PSG the Champions League the final nail in the coffin. Despite winning the Bundesliga in the 2016/17 season, reports of unrest with players along with a run of poor results meant his time in Munich was over. However, despite leaving the Bavarian side, his face will still be around until Christmas. That's because he is on Bayern Munich's official advent calendar for...

Riedle defends Bundesliga quality amid early Champions League struggles

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