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Man Utd vs Leverkusen Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up, Key Man & Predicted Score
Manchester United kick off their 2013/14 Champions League campaign as they welcome German outfit Bayer Leverkusen to Old Trafford tonight.
The game will mark David Moyes debut in the competition having failed to reached the group stages during his time at Everton, crashing out at the play-off round to Villarreal back in 2007.
The Premier League champions warmed up for the game with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday and no doubt Moyes would bite your hand off if you offered him a similar scoreline tonight.
United will be out for revenge having lost to Leverkusen on away goals in the 2002 semi finals, which meant heartbreak for then manager Sir Alex Ferguson as he missed out on the chance to take on Real Madrid in his hometown of Glasgow.
The Red Devilas will be looking to improve upon a patchy recent record at Old Trafford in the Champions League thats seen them win just three of their last nine games, the last of which was a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid last season.
But the omens are good with the visitors winless in their previous eight visits to England, although they have started the season well in Germany, winning four of their first five games.
Moyes is likely to make few changes from the side that beat Palace on Saturday. Wayne Rooney will be forced to wear a protective headband once again due to a cut on his forehead and he’s expected to play off Robin van Persie in attack.
Nani is suspended following his sending off against Madrid last year and with Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa doubts, Ashley Young is set to retain his place despite a controversial outing at the weekend that saw him once again booked for diving.
Marouane Fellaini may come in for Anderson in midfield after impressing off the bench on Saturday. Highly-rated youngster Adnan Januzaj is not eligible until the third group game but Moyes may call upon veteran Ryan Giggs if he wants to add some experience to his side.
Rafael and Phil Jones missed the weekend action through injury are not expected to be risked from the start this evening with Sunday’s Manchester derby in mind.
Leverkusen boss Sammi Hyypia is sweating on the fitness of key midfielder Lars Bender who is struggling to overcome a hip injury picked up while away on international duty with Germany. He has returned to training but may not be risked. One man who is certain to miss the game is Gonzalo Castro after he suffered a torn thigh muscle against Wolfsburg at the weekend.
Robin van Persie: The Dutchman has had a quiet start to the season by his high standards but the big occasions call for the big players and we’re backing RVP to be the one to watch tonight.
Man Utd 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen: Leverkusen are winless in their last 12 away games in the Champions League, losing 9, so I don’t expect them to break that run tonight.
What would be your starting eleven and what’s your predicted score for the game? Share your views below.