£ 18.8million Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Exequiel Palacios to miss Celtic Park trip

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Bayer Leverkusen suffered a heavy blow ahead of their trip to Celtic Park next Thursday, with Exequiel Palacios being ruled out due to injury.

Palacios is one of manager Gerardo Seoane’s key figures and scored the tying goal in Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Ferencvaros.

However, the Argentine failed to complete the full match. He was released after 50 minutes after suffering a torn ankle ligaments.

Photo by Mario Hommes / DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Palacios has been selected 14 times for Argentina and was signed by Bayer Leverkusen in December 2019 for € 22m [£18.8m] [Goal].

Leverkusen boss Seoane has commented on the injury and called the central midfielder a major part of how he sets up his squad.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Seoane said: “It’s an unfortunate situation because Exequiel has played a big role in how we play and he will be out for a while. So we need other players to step up and make an impression now. “

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Leverkusen will likely replace Palacios with German U20 international Robert Andrich to play alongside Charles Aranguiz. It’s still a hugely cultured engine room, even without Palacios in the mix.

Celtic, of course, have their own injury issues ahead of next Thursday’s game. We hope James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Giorgos Giakoumakis will know by then.

Leverkusen will come to Celtic Park after winning their first group stage game against Ferencvaros. The Hoops, meanwhile, failed in a 4-3 loss to Real Betis on the same night.

Photo by Ian MacNicol / Getty Images

Even without six of our best players, the Hoops still managed to strike some top-quality Spanish opposition. Therefore, we would expect Leverkusen to be able to cope with an injury or two on their own and still be able to replace them with heavy quality.

For now, however, attentions are on tomorrow’s game against Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Raith Rovers and Dundee United will follow next before Bayer arrives in Glasgow.

And given the squad setup so far, the rewards are definitely there for Celtic if we can take three points.

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