Salzburg striker Moanes Dabour has slammed as “totally crazy” any suggestions of a possible carve-up this week when his club face up to their fellow Red Bull-backed side Leipzig.
There is widespread cynicism a result could be engineered that would assist the Germans’ prospects of edging out Celtic for one of the two qualifying berths in their Europa League Group B when the pair meet in Austria on Thursday.
It is reflected in the fact Leipzig are odds-on to secure the win with every UK bookmakers – a fact that doesn’t tally with the opponents’ form or relative strength. Salzburg have a faultless record in the section precisely because they beat the Germans in their own backyard on matchday one. Israeli forward Dubour, pictured, doesn’t deny a “special” connection between the clubs but that won’t extend to Salzburg doing Leipzig any favours when the Austrians require at least a point to ensure they top the group.
“This is totally crazy. This is football and nobody thinks like that. Of course both clubs have good relations but there is nothing like that. [The Red Bull connection] is something special for everyone at both clubs.
‘We speak about it sometimes and joke a little bit but when it comes to the football it is serious. Over 90 minutes both teams want to win.”
Dabour was candid enough to confess he didn’t believe that the Red Bulls return fixture would have a bearing on the outcome of Group B.
It does because Celtic inflicted defeat on Leipzig in Glasgow after losing heavily in Germany and Austria.
“‘Honestly, yes,” he said, when asked if he was surprised at the victory for Brendan Rodgers’ men against the Saxon side. “We knew also that Celtic at home is a different game, different football. I didn’t see the game against Leipzig but I am sure they are not going to make it easy for us in Glasgow [in the last group game].
“We need to finish the thing against Leipzig. We hope that by the time we come to Glasgow we will have qualified. That is our hope.”