With the prolonged season reaching towards its end, Manchester United make their way to Germany to face off against Danish side Copenhagen FC in a one-off neutral Quarter-Final tie in the Europa League. Already having secured Champions League football for the next season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now determined to get his hands on a trophy in his first full season as United manager and being 3 matches away from one, he and his side are raring to go.
In such unprecedented times due to the coronavirus outbreak all knockout stages are being played over a single leg which does a lot to bridge the gap between opposing sides as there is no “safety net” of the second leg for any side. That being said the Danish side are still huge underdogs going into the tie given the fine form United have displayed lately especially in the Europa League.
Kick-Off: 20:00 BST (00:30 IST)
Venue: Stadion Köln, Germany.
The Opponents (Copenhagen)
It has been a mainly disappointing season for the Capital side as they missed out on the chance to defend their domestic title, losing out to rival side FC Midtjylland. Copenhagen will turn their gears up a notch to stage a strong challenge for a deep run in the Europa League to make up for their lacking season. The two sides have met twice before, in the 06/07 edition of the Champions League with the previous meeting ending in a 1-0 victory for the Danish side. That in addition to their strong display against Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir in the round of 16 are factors that they will certainly use as confidence boosters coming up against a formidable United side.
The manager Stale Solbakken is no stranger to the Reds’ boss Ole Gunnar as the two Norwegians have known each other for years as the two played alongside each other in the Norwegian national team and did not shy away from a challenge against his old teammate as they prepare to face off. Aware of his team’s inferiority in ability compared to his compatriot’s side, he said “Everything has to go for us and against United if we’re to stand any chance” which is something Solskjaer would be looking to pounce upon.
KEY PLAYER: Jonas Wind, the man who scored a brace in Copenhagen’s Round of 16 second-leg triumph seems to be in a goal scoring form and the center-forward will be looking to cause the United defence some problems.
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The Red Devils
After easing through LASK Linsk in the Round of 16 fixture with a comfortable 7-1 margin, Ole’s men would be looking to build on it as they hope to surmount the Danish opposition in their hopes to get their hands on the Europa League Trophy. With the strong end to the Premier League season a major trophy would be very symbolic for the manager as well as the club who are trying to set out in a newer direction. Having suffered just one loss since the restart, this Manchester United side looks confident in their abilities as a team and will look to avoid an upset as they are overwhelming favourites in this particular Quarter-Final fixture.
Having rested a majority of his starting players in the side’s previous outing, Ole has the freedom of selecting a strong squad to get the job done in the one legged fixture where a single slip up could prove to be costly. First choice left-back Luke Shaw is still out of action though owing to his ankle injury and so is Axel Tuanzebe. With 3 consecutive wins required to secure the trophy, a strong starting 11 should be expected.
KEY PLAYER: Having his best goalscoring season, Anthony Martial once again proved his prolific ability by coming on in the last few minutes against LASK and returning with a goal to his name which was the deciding factor in a win that for the most part seemed to be ending as a 1-1 dull draw. Already tallying more goals this season than the previous two combined, Ole will definitely be counting on his No. 9 to deliver as per usual.
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