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Celtic can do the double over Kazakh champions

Champions League playoff round second leg
BT Sport 2, 4.30pm Tuesday

Celtic have grown in stature since the start of Champions League qualifying and they can wrap up a place in the group stage with a second-leg victory over Astana in Kazakhstan.

The playoff tie was effectively decided when the Bhoys romped to a 5-0 success in Glasgow last Wednesday but Brendan Rodgers is not taking any chances and is expected to name his strongest available side.

That 11 will not include Moussa Dembele, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but the French striker's absence didn't hamper the Scottish champions in the first leg.

Celtic have found other sources of goals and Scott Sinclair has taken on much of the responsibility, notching doubles in the Champions League qualifying home games against Linfield (4-0) and Astana.

Two of Celtic's goals last week were scored by Astana players and the Bhoys claimed a five-goal lead despite posting only three shots on target.

The return match is likely to be tighter with Astana trying to restore some pride and demonstrate the qualities that got them past Legia Warsaw in the third qualifying round.

But Celtic, who had 63 per cent of possession in the first leg, are again likely to see plenty of the ball and have a good chance of progressing to the group stage with another victory under their belts.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY BT2

Liverpool v Hoffenheim

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Hoffenheim have won just three off their last ten competitive away matches
Expert verdict
The Germans were not disgraced in the first leg – they enjoyed 63 per cent possession and narrowly lost the shot count 14-13 – but a trip to Anfield will be tougher. However, Hoffenheim have to go for it and they have shown they can cause Liverpool’s suspect defence plenty of problems.