Sign in or
Europa League 2009-10
|Matches: 2009 - 2010 | UEFA Cup|
- Celtic dropped down into the inaugural Europa League tournament having lost the qualifiers to the Champions League group stages to Arsenal 5-1.
- Revamped UEFA Cup competition better mirroring the Champions League tournament after the much criticised previous 5 team group method of before hand (Celtic never played in those groups).
- Celtic re-meet old nemesis "Rapid Vienna" with whom Celtic have a frosty relation following nefarious play acting by the Austrians in 1984 that led to a re-match that shouldn't have been (link).
- We finished third in this our first attempt in the Europa League group, and no qualification through.
- Vienna away game temperature was at one point -7 degrees centigrade during the game (possibly even lower)!
- Hamburg managed to reach the Semi-finals of the tournament despite finishing second in the group, and really should have got through to the final (Fulham edged it).
17 Sep 2009
Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-1 Celtic
Rapid Vienna 3-0 Hamburg
1 Oct 2009
Celtic 1-1 Rapid Vienna
Hamburg 4-2 Hapoel Tel Aviv
22 Oct 2009
Celtic 0-1 Hamburg
Hapoel Tel Aviv 5-1 Rapid Vienna
5 Nov 2009
Hamburg 0-0 Celtic
Rapid Vienna 0-3 Hapoel Tel Aviv
2 Dec 2009
Celtic 2-0 Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Hamburg 2-0 Rapid Vienna
17 Dec 2009
Rapid Vienna 3-3 Celtic
Hapoel Tel-Aviv 1-0 Hamburg
Europea League/UEFA Cup ReviewDown to the Europa League having lost the preliminaries to the Champions League, and with this new set-up in place for the tournament it was to be a preparation for all the teams for a future Champions League escapade. Bizarrely, Celtic's Europa League group turned out to be on a par if not harder than the Hun's Champions' League group (they won the league last season and so were automatically in).
The teams we were to play against were:
Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)
Hamburg S.V. (Germany)
Rapid Vienna. (Austria)
The notable aspect to the group was the 25th anniversary of our meeting with our old nemesis the cheating Rapid Vienna (see link). With the older support, grudges were still held and there were concerns about this one. Hamburg S.V. were riding high in the Bundesliga and so were the big threat in the group, but little was known about Hapoel Tel Aviv. Still we were expected to do well, and rent-a-gob Gary Caldwell said we could go all the way in the UEFA Cup. Nothing like building up exaggerated expectations and the whole thing unravelled fast (making Gary look stupid).
It all began brightly and then faded fast with a defeat away in the first game. Cracking good first half and then we seemed to throw it away, letting Hapoel Tel Aviv steal a victory which we should have tied up for ourselves clearly in the first half. The tone was set and little went better from then on. Mowbray's decision making was very much questioned here. The weather was said to have impacted the players (poor excuse) but the substitutions baffled. Was Mowbray up to the job? Hapoel were no great shakes and we'd wasted a great chance to get off the starting blocks here.
Facing Rapid turned out to be less explosive than the media desired. Have to put in a good word for the atmosphere created by the Rapid fans who were amongst the most colourful & vocal to have come to Parkhead in many a year. Sadly, Rapid scored quick fire having been gifted two early shots on goal, one of which they converted. We may have come back into the game with the goal but neither side did little more and Rapid left with a smug grin on their face. Their fans are said to have created some havoc in Glasgow on their arrival and were cordoned off on the walk up to the stadium. Nevertheless, inside the ground the Rapid fans created great noise and atmosphere, but more important qualification was slipping away.
The matches all were most looking forward to were the back-to-back games v Hamburg, for social as well as for footballing reasons. On a high in the Bundesliga, they were expected to give us the greatest test in the group. To our surprise, they were less than impressive. We squandered the home match losing by 1-0 (showing us to be even more powder puff) but fought out a goalless draw away which effectively killed off our chances of qualification in what was an otherwise lacklustre campaign.
The Hamburg away match is best remembered for one thing. The home support put up a card display of a Union Jack with "No Surrender!". Quite comical and ironic seeing this in Germany, and speaking to many locals they were quite baffled by it all. On the other hand, Hamburg's city rivals "St Pauli" joined the Celtic support and helped create a great party atmosphere despite anything else. There was no trouble or any problems, and the cementing of our friendship with St Pauli was the highlight of the whole group stage. Hamburg is one class city to have a good time.
Victory finally came our way at home against Hapoel Tel Aviv. We dominated the match and were comfortable victors and really showed what a poor side our opponents really were. However on the back of result in the other match Hapoel were through to the next stage despite this defeat. They lost this night but left still satisfied. We on the other hands were left to rue "What if?".
Last match was a non-event in some ways, but there was respect to be regained. Rapid away was a damp squid in that as much as there was a grudge to be settled, it was all put on ice (literally) as we battled to see who was to finish bottom of the group, 3rd v 4th instead of qualification. So who was less pish between the two of us? After 30 seconds, it looked to be us as Rapid scored quick time against a reserve Celtic side fielded to the disgruntlement of the fans who paid good money to be there (esp when they had to stand in below zero temperatures in a snow covered stadium to watch the game). After 20 minutes, it looked confirmed just how pish we were, with Rapid a bewildering three nil up!!!! What the hell?
Yet to the amazement of everyone we fought back. Fortuné was the hero of the game, grabbing two goals, and at the death we grabbed a remarkable equalizer!!!! Class celebrations from the frozen Celtic support, but what the hell. A good game to end an otherwise forgettable UEFA Cup campaign.
We weren't bottom and Rapid didn't come above us or qualify, but is that any consolation? Bizarrely, the worst team in the group were Hapoel and they finished top of the group! They were likely the more focussed, hungry and determined. Something that Celtic lacked.
Hamburg managed to reach the semi-finals of the tournament and probably should have got to the final (Fulham got through in their place). So maybe Gary Caldwell was correct and we lost a golden opportunity to go all the way again.
Maybe the real problem was just self-belief. After a hard graft in Europe through the decade we'd ended it on a limp. Sad to see but the best thing was seeing the support still travelling along to all the matches abroad although attendances were below par at home. We continue to make friends and in Hamburg we'd cemented a great growing friendship with a like-minded support at St Pauli. On the pitch we must turn it around, else we could remain in limbo again for another long spell in Europe (see the nineties). Watching the Huns humiliate themselves in Europe was entertaining but not sufficient consolation. Our benchmarks must be set higher.
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, May 10 2010, 5:07 AM EDT
(about this update
About This Update
Edited by joebloggscity
72 words added
3 words deleted
- complete history)
Keyword tags: UEFA Cup
More Info: links to this page