Confirmed XI: Van de Beek and Pogba start against Leipzig in the Champions League; Cavani, Fernandes and Rashford on the bench

Confirmed XI: Van de Beek and Pogba start against Leipzig in the Champions League; Cavani, Fernandes and Rashford on the bench

Manchester United return to action in the UEFA Champions League as they welcome RB Leipzig to Old Trafford for the first time in the history of European competition. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to get back to winning ways after that dire 0-0 draw against Chelsea at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday evening. The victory over Paris Saint-Germain will boost United’s confidence in the competition as they come against the German side that has not been beaten so far this season, only dropping points to Bayern Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann will be seeking a good result in Manchester.

Solskjaer will once against have the services one Anthony Martial for this match with him being suspended domestically for his red card against Tottenham Hotspur, of which he will sit out one more match; the Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday. United rested both Axel Tuanzebe, who played well in his first match after a ten-month injury layoff and summer signings Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles against Chelsea with the trio being fit to face Leipzig. Harry Maguire returned from injury which kept him out against PSG and Edinson Cavani made his United debut, from the bench and almost scoring.

United will be seeking an early qualification from their group with all six group stage matches being played in just eight weeks, with one match each week, then the last international break of 2020 taking a two-week period after three matches have been played, with the following three coming in the weeks after. A win against Leipzig and two wins over Istanbul Basaksehir could see United through with two matches left to play. A defeat or a draw could prolong United group stages into the final two matches, dependant on what happens in the other matches to be played in the group. Solskjaer will be hoping that his toughly United side can prevail.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic;

Fred, Pogba;

Van de Beek;

Greenwood, Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams, Tuanzebe, Mengi; Mata, Fernandes, James, McTominay; Cavani, Rashford, Ighalo

RB Leipzig:

Gulácsi;

Konate, Upamecano, Halstenberg;

Henrichs, Kampl, Nkunku, Angelino;

Olmo, Poulsen, Forsberg

Substitutes:

Tschauner, Martinez, Orban, Sabitzer, Hwang, Adams, Sørloth, Samardžić, Kluivert, Borkowski, Martel, Wosz

United and Leipzig have not yet met competitively in Europe but United have played German opposition many times in European competition. The first German team played was Borussia Dortmund in 1956 followed by FK Vorwärts Berlin in 1965 with Dortmund again in 1997 followed by FC Bayern München in 1998 and 1999 in what was a good season for United. The Red Devils have also faced Bayer 04 Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04. United have played 31 matches against German clubs, winning 15, drawing eight and losing eight. United have scored 55 goals, conceding 36 against German clubs.

United have faced Bayern München the most when playing against German clubs with eleven matches being played against the club with United winning twice, drawing five times and being defeated four times. One of the wins was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final, a 2-1 victory in Barcelona. The last German team to face United in the competition was Wolfsburg in the group stages of the competition five years ago, winning once and losing once. Leipzig have faced Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 in the Champions League last season, their only English opposition, winning 4-0 on aggregate; 1-0 in London and 3-0 in Leipzig.

Written by John Walker

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