Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Manchester United FC vs Wolfsburg preview
Led by a front pair of Grafite and Edin Džeko even Sir Alex Ferguson concedes is "incredible", Armin Veh says there is no reason for his VfL Wolfsburg charges to be initimidated by the Old Trafford atmosphere when they take on Manchester United FC. He feels the experience of big Bundesliga crowds will mask the fact this will be the German side's away debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage, even if they are up against three-time European titleholders.
Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
The two Wolfsburg [strikers] scored 71 goals between them last season which is incredible, so we're looking forward to the game. I believe that if the home record is good it gives you a good chance to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League. And over the years our home record has been pretty good. We won our first match away from home which is a very big bonus to us. Germany is a good football nation. It says a lot for Wolfsburg's ambition: the progress they made last year, they did it in a very positive way. Sides from countries like Germany are always capable of winning the Champions League. The last few years it has been dominated by English teams, but there's always the possibility of someone coming in.
Armin Veh, Wolfsburg coach
Despite the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tévez, United are still strong. When you take a look at the table you see that they haven't lost in six matches so I see no significant changes – Manchester United have the same quality. This is a special game. United have played in more than 150 Champions League matches, while for us it's just our second game, but we're not going to sit back. I can't say if the lads will be inspired or scared of playing their first match at Old Trafford, but we'll still play our game, otherwise it'll be tough for us. But if you talking about the atmosphere, nothing beats the Bundesliga where crowds are enormous. There is a chance that Obafemi Martins will be brought into action and we'll play with three strikers, but of course it's not easy for him to win the competition with two strikers like Grafite and Edin Džeko.
26/09/09 Stoke City FC 0-2 United
(Berbatov 62, O'Shea 77)
• The win at Stoke was United's seventh in a row in all competitions. United have won 14 and lost just one of their last 16 Premier League games.
• United have scored 16 goals in their last five league matches. Of the 17 league goals they have scored this season 13 have come in the second half.
26/09/09 Wolfsburg 4-2 Hannover 96
(Misimović 8, Gentner 45, Hasebe 48, Džeko 62; Balitsch 28, Madlung 50og)
• It was Wolfsburg's fourth loss in six matches, their worst sequence since November/December 2007.
• Wolfsburg are yet to draw this season. After ten competitive games, they have won six and lost four, three of those defeats coming in the Bundesliga.
• Zvjezdan Misimović scored his fifth league goal of the season against Hannover, making him joint top scorer in the Bundesliga.
Out: Owen Hargreaves (knee), Rafael (shoulder), Gabriel Obertan (calf), Edwin van der Sar (broken finger)
Doubtful: Ji-Sung Park (illness)
Misses next match if booked: none
Doubtful: Josué (knee)
Misses next match if booked: none
• United have not lost a home game in the UEFA Champions League since a 1-0 defeat by AC Milan in February 2005.
• This is Wolfsburg's maiden trip to England, although they did emerge victorious from their first encounter with an English team last season – beating Portsmouth FC 3-2 in the UEFA Cup group stage with goals from Džeko, Misimović and Christian Gentner.
• United forward Dimitar Berbatov scored twice in eight Bundesliga matches against Wolfsburg during five and a half years with Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
• Wolfsburg striker Martins was on target for Newcastle United FC in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on the opening day of the 2008/09 Premier League season.
Did you know?
Sir Alex has twice claimed European honours against German clubs – his Aberdeen FC side defeated Hamburger SV to land the 1983 UEFA Super Cup and United beat FC Bayern München in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final.