Celtic travel to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night looking to keep their faint dreams of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League alive.
But rather than fear the German giants, Celtic should take inspiration from how the perennial Bundesliga champions have constructed a squad capable of dominating domestic football over the last half a decade.
After all, Bayern have made something of a habit out of strengthening their own squad while weakening that of their rivals. Jupp Heynckes’ side nabbed Mario Goetze, the star man and great hope of title rivals Borussia Dortmund, just days before they clashed in an all-German Champions League final in 2013.
A year later, Bayern stole their star striker Robert Lewandowski. And, in the summer of 2016, Dortmund captain Mats Hummels became the latest to make the trip from the Signal Iduna Park to the Allianz Arena.
Out of Bayern's playbook
And Celtic could be accused of a similar tactic when they swiped Jonny Hayes from Aberdeen in the summer. The winger was arguably The Dons’ most impressive performer as they finished runners up to Celtic in all three domestic competitions last season.
Consequently, The Bhoys paid £1.3 million to lure Hayes from Pittodrie (The Express) and, while he has not yet made the impact expected, the 30-year-old has still strengthens Celtic’s squad while alleviating their domestic rivals of their star man.
And perhaps Celtic should attempt to repeat the trick in the summer. Joe Lewis only signed a contract with The Dons until 2020 recently but is still a man in demand, Aston Villa sending a scout to watch him against Hibernian at the weekend, per the Scottish Sun.
With Dorus de Vries out of contract in the summer, Celtic need a goalkeeper capable of competing with Craig Gordon – so who better than the shot-stopper that kept the 34-year-old out of the SPFA Team of the Season?
Aberdeen would be loathe to lose Lewis to Celtic but, if The Bhoys make a big enough offer, The Dons may find it difficult to refuse.