Man Utd v Bayer Leverkusen preview: Welbeck doubtful, Kagawa to return?
Moyes’ previous involvement in Europe was in 2005-06, when led his former club Everton to the qualifying stages of this competition, but failed to reach the group stages, after suffering defeat at the hands of Spanish side Villarreal.
On Paper, United are favourites to advance into the knockout round stages as Group A winners, having been drawn alongside Leverkusen, Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and Spanish side Real Sociedad, but Moyes sees it as a tough group. He said ahead of the match:
“I think all groups are tough. You used to be able to always pick out the group winners but in the last few years that has become more difficult. It is more unpredictable than it was. We’ve got a leading team from Germany, one from Spain and we go to Donetsk to play Shakhtar. It’s a tough group.”
Marouane Fellaini will be hoping to make a mark in the Champions League stages along with his former manager. The Belgian made his debut on Saturday following his £27.5 million deadline-day transfer and put up an impressive show. He is likely to start alongside Michael Carrick.
Ryan Giggs has made more Champions League appearances for one club (134) than any other player and it will be interesting to see whether Moyes opts to start with the veteran.
England duo Danny Welbeck (knee) and Phil Jones (ankle) are both doubtful for this tie having missed training on Monday. Shinji Kagawa who missed out the last match with flu could figure after returning to training.
Leverkusen have started the season brilliantly having registered 4 victories out of five. Midfielder Lars Bender (hip) faces a late fitness test.
Manchester United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Rafael, Fabio, Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Buttner, Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Cleverley, Fellaini, Anderson, Kagawa, Young, Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez.
Bayer Leverkusen (from): Leno, Wollscheid, Spahic, Boenisch, Castro, Reinartz, Rolfes, Hilbert, Sam, Son Heung-Min, Kiessling, Palop, Toprak, Donati, Can, Hegeler, Derdiyok, Kruse
Prediction: Man Utd 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Share your prediction for the match? Will Moyes get his first Champions League victory tonight?