Manchester United did not start their Champions League group stage campaign the best way possible. A season ending injury to Luke Shaw was added to a disappointing performance and a defeat to PSV Eindhoven away. However after a run of three consecutive wins in all competitions, the Devils will be looking forward to their next opponents – Wolfsburg at home.
It is the first game in a series of tricky encounters throughout all of October. It is also a must win game as the next one in the calendar will be a visit to Russian side CSKA Moscow. Such was Van Gaal’s thought, who despite saying that his team is capable of winning the competition all together, said it will be difficult to progress if we are not to win our first two games. However he emphasized on team spirit as a trait to prevail such occurrence and continue the fine run we are in.
On the same night United lost to PSV, Wolfsburg made their Champions League return after a six year absence. A 1:0 win would allow them to travel with confidence to the Theatre of Dreams and hope for a better performance than their last trip when the two sides met.
Coach Dieter Hecking will be hopeful his side can reproduce some of the fine form, which he saw get his team to second last season and earn the merit to play in Europe’s most dazzling competition. It has been a mixed opening to current campaign and summer leave by their star player Kevin De Bruyne, however do not help.
Van Gaal has confirmed that Michael Carrick will not play on Wednesday evening. Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia all sat out training with minor injury problems on Tuesday and are likely to miss the game. Defender Paddy McNair is once again fit and should feature in the game, albeit as a sub.
However, Anthony Martial should keep his place up front after his impressive start to life at the club, with Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Depay joining him in the attack.
Meanwhile, Robin Knoche has been ruled out for Wolfsburg, who could also be without Vieirinha and Koen Casteels. Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo is another injury doubt for the visitors, but former Premier League duo Andre Schurrle and Nicklas Bendtner have been included in their squad.
Possible Starting Line-ups:
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): DDG; Jones, Smalling, Blind, Darmian; Schweinsteiger, Feillani; Mata, Rooney, Depay; Martial
Wolfsburg (4-2-3-1): Benaglio; Trasch, Dante, Naldo, Rodriguez; Guilavogui, Arnold; Caligiuri, Schurrle, Draxler; Dost
Previous Meeting: Wolfsburg – Manchester United 1:3 08th December 2009
A hat-trick by Michael Owen saw off the Germans in a game which we witnessed a weakened Manchester United squad including Fletcher and Carrick as CB’s and Ji Sung Park as a RB.
Do not expect LVG to go that far with rotation as more calm and steady approach is needed to record our first win and get the campaign up and running.