Europa League draw hands Celtic speedy rematch with Rosenborg

Celtic captain Scott Brown in action against Salzburg in 2014. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Celtic captain Scott Brown in action against Salzburg in 2014. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Celtic’s Europa League group stage campaign will begin with a quickfire rematch against fellow Champions League dropouts Rosenborg.

Brendan Rodgers’ men will face their familiar Norwegian rivals along with Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg and German side RB Leipzig in Group B.

Rosenborg will be their first opponents at Celtic Park on 20 September, just seven weeks after the teams met in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

Celtic won 3-1 on aggregate, before being knocked out of the elite competition by AEK Athens in the next round, while Rosenborg have won subsequent ties in the Europa League against Cork City and Shkendija of Macedonia.

“It’s funny, because I spoke to the Rosenborg captain [Mike Jensen] on the pitch in Trondheim after we played them and he said ‘Congratulations, maybe see you next year again’,” said Celtic manager Rodgers. “But it’s just going to be a couple of months. It’s a tough draw but an exciting one in a competition we want to do well in.”

After the home match against Rosenborg, Celtic will travel to Salzburg for their matchday two fixture on 4 October. The clubs previously met in the Europa League group stage four years ago when Celtic, under Ronny Deila’s management, drew 2-2 in Austria but lost 3-1 at home.

Salzburg, champions of Austria for the last five seasons, missed out on the Champions League group stage this season when they lost on away goals to Red Star Belgrade in the play-off round.

They are the top seeds in Group B and have a strong pedigree in the Europa League, beating Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio on their way to the semi-finals last season where they lost to Marseille.

Uefa’s rules on dual ownership of clubs have been called into question by the inclusion of both Salzburg and Leipzig, also backed by Red Bull, in their competitions.

Leipzig finished sixth in the Bundesliga last season and beat Ukrainian side Zorya 3-2 on aggregate in the play-off round of the Europa League. Celtic will face them in Germany on 25 October, then in Glasgow on 8 November. They will conclude the group campaign with games against Rosenborg in Trondheim on 29 November and Salzburg at Celtic Park on 13 December.