Anderlecht v Celtic: Rodgers and Frutos prepare for 'key' game

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers is yet to win a Champions League group stage match as Celtic manager
Champions League Group B: Anderlecht v Celtic
Venue: Constant Vanden Stock Stadium Date: Wednesday, 27 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Brendan Rodgers admits Wednesday's trip to Anderlecht could be the key game in Celtic's Champions League campaign.

Celtic lost 5-0 at home to Paris St-Germain in their Group B opener.

Rodgers acknowledges European football in the New Year will likely be contingent on two positive results against the Belgian champions.

"If you look at it realistically it is a game that both teams will be looking at to have that chance of playing in Europe after Christmas," he said.

"But, all games at this level are very tough and we've experienced that in the last couple of seasons.

"We go into it with good confidence in the team, though. For us, it is about bringing our game into these games and that's what we have done, particularly in the competition last year after the first game, in Gladbach away and Manchester City away.

"We put in very good performances so it's looking to impose our style of play but respecting that the opponent will always have some very good players."

The top two in the group will progress to the knockout rounds, with the third placed team dropping into the Europa League last 32.

Rodgers remains cautious of the threat posed by Anderlecht, who lost 3-0 away to Bayern Munich in their group opener, despite the apparent inner turmoil which led to manager Rene Weiler being sacked amid a sluggish start to their title defence.

"It's always sad when a manager loses his job, but there's clearly some problems there," he added.

Nicolas Frutos
Anderlecht caretaker coach Nicolas Frutos expects a "strong physical" Celtic

"But I suppose this is a competition that Anderlecht will see as an opportunity to try and turn that fortune around.

"You never know what'll happen with the change in manager, sometimes you have that bounce effect with the team, when an interim manager comes in.

"But, we've done our best to study Anderlecht's games so far and it'll still pose a threat for us and be a difficult game, especially away from home."

Meanwhile, in the opposing dugout at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium will be interim boss Nicolas Frutos.

The 36-year-old Argentine has been thrust into the spotlight following Weiler's departure.

Frutos is keen on the job on a full-time basis and knows a victory over Rodgers' side would go a long way to turning that into reality.

Olivier Deschacht playing for Anderlecht against Bayern Munich
Anderlecht lost their group opener 3-0 against Bayern Munich

And with several star men winning fitness battles before the game, he is confident of a home victory.

"Both for Anderlecht and Celtic, this is a key match, third place," he said on the eve of the Group B encounter.

"PSG and Bayern are usually teams that compete to win the Champions League.

"Wednesday, we will play with our best XI. We will try to play our own game, create opportunities and play the spaces.

"Celtic is a strong physical team, but they can also play technically well. The captain [Scott] Brown and [Scott] Sinclair are strong players. And defensively it's also good.

"Matches in the Champions League are always special. I'm not working on my own future now."

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