|Venue: De Kuip, Rotterdam Date: Tuesday 19 September Start: 20:00 BST|
|Scope: Listen to BBC Radio Scotland Extra/DAB/810MW, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app|
When the late Wim Jansen accepted the invitation to manage Celtic, one of the reasons he was drawn to the job was the similarities he saw between the sleeping giants of Glasgow and Feyenoord, the club he memorably helped destroy the dream by Jock Stein in a second European Cup victory 27 years later.
Just three seasons after Lisbon, Celtic are favorites to lift the famous trophy again, this time at the iconic San Siro in Milan. And, when one of 1967’s scorers Tommy Gemmell repeated the trick in a terrible opener, hopes were raised, hopes of being crushed by Ernst Happel’s underdogs.
Feyenoord came back and deservedly won 2-1. Key men such as Jimmy Johnstone and Bobby Lennox were marked out of the game. Billy McNeill’s spectacular misjudgement of a quick free-kick allowed the Dutch to score the decisive goal with just a few minutes left in added time.
The little Rotterdam native at the center of it all is Jansen.
Despite standing at 5ft 5in when he dictated plays from his midfield posting, in the annals of Feyenoord, Jansen was a bona fide colossus. Only one person has played more games for the club. He won four Eredivisie titles and added the Uefa Cup to his crowning moment at Milan among other accolades.
As the clubs prepare to face off for the second time in their Champions League group, Jansen, who died in January 2022, is at the forefront of many supporters’ minds on both sides.
His impact at Celtic when he replaced Tommy Burns was shorter but no less important as he won the Scottish title in 1998. It was the Parkhead club’s first for a decade and, perhaps just as importantly, denied rivals the Rangers a historic 10th consecutive championship.
To help achieve this, he convinced the Celtic board to spend £650,000 for the services of Feyenoord striker Henrik Larsson. The rest is history.
With last season’s Italian runners-up, Lazio, and three-time Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid also in Group E, many feel that the head-to-heads against the Dutch champions is where the Celtic’s best chance of victory will come.
Main losses in the objective and the front
The hosts were hit last month by first-choice goalkeeper Justin Bijlow’s second broken wrist of the calendar year. The reported Manchester United target is likely to be out until the start of November.
Highly rated right back Lutsharel Geertuida is a fitness doubt. The 23-year-old’s loss would be a blow to Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot, who was in the frame for the Tottenham Hotspur job before turning down the opportunity, much to Celtic’s chagrin. The Scottish champions will lose Ange Postecoglu to the London club following that decision.
The Slot also had their problems at the top end of the pitch, with Santiago Gimenez suspended for their first two group games. Mexico’s goal machine has scored five in five games this season and hit 28 last term as they won their first title since Giovanni van Bronckhorst led them to the Eredivisie summit in 2017.
Gimenez was sent off in their second-leg Europa League quarter-final defeat by Roma last season as the Italians denied them yet again, beating them in the Conference League final just months earlier.
New signing Ayase Ueda is also likely to miss out against Celtic after a knock after scoring in Japan’s impressive 4-1 friendly win over Germany.
Attacking midfielder Calvin Stengs could be the one to turn to Slot to lead the line on Tuesday, while other threats include wingers Luka Ivanusec and Igor Paixao. Slovakia defender David Hancko is an impressive figure at the back alongside captain Gernot Trauner.
Celtic have never won their opening Champions League group game and this will be their last chance to do so with UEFA fixing the competition from next season.
Feyenoord return to the group stage of this tournament for the first time in six years and will invoke the spirit of the 1970s when they take to the field against Brendan Rodgers’ side.