Celtic defender Filip Benkovic has set his sights on a clean sheet in Germany on Thursday night as Brendan Rodgers’ side prepare for RB Leipzip in the Europa League.

The Bundesliga side look as though they will be Celtic’s biggest threat to landing a runners-up spot in the group to secure progress to the knockout stages of the tournament.

And Benkovic is keen to shut the door as Rodgers’ side look to take something from the game.

“It can be our toughest game. But we have one clean sheet – why not another?” said the 20-year-old defender.

“European football is top for me. These games against teams like Leipzig are special because the players are all international level and they are main players in the national teams.

“It’s a challenge for us to see where we are and to try and be competitive.

“We want to compete and to show that to everyone.

“They played very good football last year – even Bayern Munich could not say this was a certain three points because of the level Leipzig have reached.

“But we can’t go there to give up. We must fight for the 90 minutes and try to get some points.”

Recently back from injury, Benkovic is keen now to establish a partnership with Dedryck Boyata at the heart of the Parkhead defence.

“I am looking forward to playing beside him,” said the Croatian. “Dedryck plays for the Belgian national team, which shows his quality.

“Every day in training, I watch his moves and I’ve learned a lot just from that I file away everything I learn from him in my head.

“He also gives me advice – just like Jozo [Simunovic] and the other players, which is positive. Celtic have a good mix of young and experienced players in the central defensive positions.

“That means the younger ones like myself have very good energy while the older professionals bring their knowledge.

“We can have a good season together but it will not be easy. There are a lot of good teams so we must work hard every single day – we can’t relax in any game; we must push hard all the time.”

European football is not a new experience for Benkovic. The defender, who signed for Leicester in a £13m from Croatia Zagreb just a fortnight before embarking on his loan move to Celtic, has experienced the Champions League qualification process with his former side and has also been over the course before in the Europa League.

“The biggest game I played was against Lyon,” explained Benkovic. “It was a 1-0 defeat to Lyon in Zagreb. Yet it’s still a good memory.

“We played very well and this game can only give you more experience.

“This is the level I want to get to one day.

“I was up against [Alexandre] Lacazette – it was a hard night!”

Celtic have had a torrid time in recent seasons with the sheer volume of injuries picked up by defenders. Benkovic has returned from the treatment room but is unlikely to be seen anywhere near an artificial pitch in his time with Celtic.

“Some teams play here on a plastic pitch and that can make it difficult for me,” he said.

“But I do training before training and then extra after the main sessions. I have to prepare my body.

“I will prepare to play three games in a week.”