Monday 24 October 2016

Man United's five possible opponents in Champions League draw

Published 06/08/2015 | 13:25

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal

Manchester United now know their five potential opponents in their Champions League play-off later this month - and their path to the group stages of the competition may be far from comfortable.

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United earned their spot in the final qualifying round of the Champions League after their fourth placed finish in the Premier League last season, with Louis van Gaal's side the top seeds taking part at this stage of the competition.

While that lofty seeding should ensure United are offered a workable route to the lucrative group stages of the competition, there are some banana skins for them to avoid in the draw that will take place on Friday at 11am Irish time.


Star turn: Bernardo Silva

Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim was hailed as a hero as he led his side to the last eight of the Champions League last season, with their famous 3-1 win against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium one of the shock results in European competition in 2015.

Their big-spending days that saw Monaco sign the likes of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez may be gone for now, but they are the team United will want to avoid in the play-off round.


Star turn: Robert Beric

The surprise guys of the Champions League third qualifying round, the Austrian outfit emerged victorious in their clash against a fancied Ajax side and head into the play-off round in buoyant mood.

Beric is a serious scoring machine, with the Slovenian international banging in 28 league games for the side that finished second in the Austrian top flight last season. They may have beaten Ajax, but this clash would appear to be one of the easiest United could land.


Star turn: Victor Vazquez

Quarter-finalists in last season's Europa League, this Belgian side will be keen to make their breakthrough in the biggest competition of them all this season.

Led by coach Michel Preud’Homme, who was Belgian's national team keeper for many a long year, they started their Belgian league season in shaky fashion, but saw off Panathinakos in their Champions League qualifier in impressive fashion.


Star turn: Alan Dzagoev

Off to a flying start in the Russian Premier League this season, United will be keen to avoid the trip to the Russian capital as this is a club with experience of making life difficult for high profile opponents on home soil.

Coach Leonid Slutsky has experience aplenty to call upon in the Champions League and they have several members of the Russian national team on their books who could give United some concerns.


Star turn: Miroslav Klose

United will not want to be drawn against the Italian side who boast a handful of dangerous match winners in their ranks.

After finishing third in Serie A last season, the expectation is that the capital city club will bolster Italy's representation in the group stages of the Champions League. A trip to a sell-out Stadio Olympico would be a real test for Van Gaal's men at this early stage of the season, so anyone but Lazio will be the order from the Old Trafford hierarchy.

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