Manchester United vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen
UEFA Champions League, Round 1 – Tuesday 17th September, 2013 (19:45 KO BST) – Old Trafford
David Moyes ahead of his first Champions League campaign as United boss: “I’ve been excited about it ever since I’ve joined Manchester United.” – The betting odds have United as favourites, but there will be nerves until United score their first goal.
Nani remains suspended after “that” red card.
Phil Jones and Rafael once again look set to miss out through injury.
After missing the weekend win over Crystal Palace, Danny Welbeck remains a doubt.
Shinji Kagawa could feature after overcoming a mild case of flu.
Wayne Rooney completed the 90 minutes on Saturday and should start. He will once again wear a protective headband.
Having played every minute of league action thus far, and with Jonny Evans fit again, one of Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic could be due a rest.
After an impressive – albeit brief – debut appearance, Marouane Fellaini looks set to make his first United start.
The second of 3 games in 8 days, and with City laying in wait on Sunday, further changes should be expected.
Predicted line-up: De Gea, Smalling, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Giggs, Rooney, van Persie
Rudi Voller, Bayer Leverkusen’s sporting director: “It’s a very, very tough group and a difficult challenge. We’ve got nothing to lose and we’re the outsiders. Manchester United are obviously a highlight for our supporters.”
Managed by former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia.
Like David Moyes, the ex-Liverpool defender embarks on his first European campaign.
Leverkusen have started the German league season impressively, winning 4 of their 5 games.
9 players have started all 5 of Leverkusen’s Bundesliga fixtures thus far.
Striker Stefan Kießling and winger Sidney Sam have both scored 4 goals in 5 league games.
Lars Bender (hip) faces a late fitness test.
Dominik Kohr and Niklas Lomb miss out through injury.
Omer Toprak, rested at the weekend, should come back into the side.
Predicted line-up: Leno, Donati, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch, Bender, Reinartz, Castro, Sam, Heung-Min, Kießling
Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)
The 37-year-old official took charge of 5 UEFA Champions League fixtures last season, brandishing 16 yellow cards and 1 red card. Was last seen by United fans during the 2-1 home defeat to Ajax in February of last year.
Assistants: Matej Žunič (SVN), Bojan Ul (SVN)
Fourth official: Primož Arhar (SVN)
Previous meetings vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen
United 2-0 Leverkusen (13-11-02) – Leverkusen 1-2 United (24-09-02) – Leverkusen 1-1 United (30-04-02) – United 2-2 Leverkusen (24-04-02)
The UEFA Youth League also starts on Tuesday, more information on the official site.
The match will mark United’s first European fixture without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm since 20th March, 1985.
David Moyes takes charge of his first ever UEFA Champions League (proper) fixture.
United embark on an 18th consecutive UEFA Champions League campaign.
David Moyes’ only previous encounter with German opposition was a 2-0 win at 1. FC Nürnberg in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.
Leverkusen are seeking a first win in England. Their record reads: W0 D2 L6.
Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand both started the last time United faced Leverkusen at Old Trafford. The match ended in a 2-0 home win.
United have not scored a goal from open play in 270 minutes of football.
David de Gea is yet to concede a goal at Old Trafford this season.
United have won only 3 of the last 9 home fixtures in the UEFA Champions League and have lost 4 of the last 6.
Score prediction: United 1-0 Leverkusen