Celtic hit with brutal Champions League reality check by RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk as Ange sent timely reminder

dailyrecord.co.uk 10 days ago

The former group rivals of the Scottish champions endured a tough time in the knockout rounds.

(Image: Getty Images)

Ange Postecoglou is on course to lead Celtic into the Champions League group stage for the second consecutive season.

But the Australian has been shown the levels he needs to hit with the Hoops next term after group rivals RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk suffered a battering while on European duty this week. Despite failing to escape the group stage and being unable to win a game, the Scottish Premiership champions took plenty of credit from their all-out attacking performances as Angeball made it's debut in Europe's elite competition.

However, Real Madrid cruised to the top of the group while the Bundesliga side did enough to make the last 16 with victories over both Celtic and the Ukrainian champions. Avoiding defeat against the Parkhead side both home and away - coupled with the shock victory over the European champions Real - saw Shakhtar seal third and a spot in the Europa League.

RB Leipzig were handed one of the toughest tests of the knockout rounds when Manchester City came out of the hat. Despite a respectable 1-1 draw on their own patch, Pep Guardiola masterminded a mauling in Manchester as they ran out 7-0 victors on their own patch.

Shakhtar also saw off Rennes on penalties in the playoff round to reach the last 16, but it was a step too far for the side. Despite managing a draw in the first leg with Feyenoord, but in the Netherlands the Dutch side dominated as they cruised to a 7-1 victory.

(Image: Getty Images)

Celtic will hope to be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Leipzig and Shakhtar next season - and with a nine point lead over Rangers at the top they look set to bypass the playoff rounds once again. However, based on the results of their group stage opponents Postecoglou will know there is work to be done this summer to help his side reach the next level in the Champions League.

The Australian likes to get his transfer dealings done early - so the battering for their former group foes could come at the perfect time for the boss. He will look to reshape his squad to continue to bring success in Scotland - and take the club to the next level in Europe.

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