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Manchester United: Champions League opponents to watch

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Manchester United start the European journey under David Moyes this month in what will be arguably United's most difficult group stage in year,  when they take on a group consisting of Ukranian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, Spanish surprise package Real Sociedad and German outfit Bayer Leverkusen.

Here we assess the player United must fear most from each Group A opponent.

Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk): 

Shakhtar Donetsk may have lost a prized asset in Henrikh Mkhitaryan this summer along with Willian in January to Russian neighbors Anzhi Mackachkala, but they also managed to lure the massively coveted Bernard, beating Arsenal and Porto among others to his signature.

The Brazilian will be looking to make an impression for his new club ahead of the World Cup in 2014. Predominantly a left-sided player or inside forward, Bernard is a diminutive playmaker, standing at just 5'4''.

While not reliant on many physical attributes, he does however possess very good long-range shooting and a quick turn of pace which in turn enhances his technical side of the game.

Compatriot Rafael da Silva could come up against a dangerous opponent when the two sides face each other.

Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen):

Lars Bender is another player to attract attention from potential suitors due to his performances for Bayer Leverkusen, as well as establishing himself in the Germany set-up where he competes with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Ilkay Gundogan.

Bender is primarily a box-to-box midfielder, but is also completely adept at playing as a holding midfielder. Bender possesses a superb engine, while his concentration and tackling ability is also very good.

Arsenal made a bid of £19million in July and United were also credited with an interest in his services.

Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad):

Griezmann played a pivotal role in Real Sociedad's bid for 4th place in La Liga last season, where they asurped Champions League regulars Valencia to earn a coveted qualifying spot.

Griezmann is yet to win a cap for France's senior nation, but at the tender age of 22 if he maintains the same vein of form that will change.

Griezmann operates on the right wing in a 4-3-3 for Sociedad and the Champions League now offers a worldwide stage for the Frenchman to showcase his talents.

The winger has pace in abundance and very good dribbling ability, while he can also be utilized as a forward highlighting his goal threat.

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Topics:
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Football
Premier League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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