Football

Manchester United v Bayer Leverkusen: Predicted XI

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Manchester United boss David Moyes is relishing the opportunity of managing in the Champions League group stage for the very first time, when his side take on Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

The 50-year-old Scot is anticipating a difficult encounter against last season's third-place Bundesliga outfit, in the opening fixture of six matches in Group A, which is also made up of Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and Spanish side Real Sociedad.

"I've been excited about it ever since I've joined Manchester United," Moyes is quoted by BBC Sport. "I've been there before with Everton - we didn't quite make the group stages but this is different.

"This is a club that's used to getting to the latter stages."

Moyes guided the Toffees to the qualification stage of Europe's elite club competition in 2005/06, only for the Merseyside club to be knocked out by Villarreal.

This year though, he'll be expected to easily navigate the group stages, and put Manchester United in contention for the trophy. But, it won't be an easy task.

"You used to be able to always pick out the group winners but in the last few years that has become more difficult," Moyes added.

"It is more unpredictable than it was. We've got a leading team from Germany, one from Spain and we go to Donetsk to play Shakhtar. It's a tough group."

Manchester United are likely to be without Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones, who both missed training on Monday. Shinji Kagawa is back in contention after recovering from flu, and Wayne Rooney is expected to start once again with his protective headband.

Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen will hand a late fitness test to Lars Bender after the midfielder missed the 3-1 weekend victory over Wolfsburg with a hip injury.

Manchester United predicted starting XI:

De Gea; Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Nani, Rooney, Van Persie.

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Topics:
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Football

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