It’s been a while since these two teams faced each other in the 1st leg of the Round of 16 draw . Having put up a show in March, United will be looking at this game as a mere formality. The Reds destroyed the Austrian giants 5-0 at Linz with Odion Igalho opening the proceedings followed by Daniel James, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira.
We should be looking at a fair amount of rotation for this game as Ole’s men return after a 10-day break. Solskjaer heavily relied on his regular starters for a healthy part of the Premier League run-in and will therefore not risk any of his top players for this much expected cruising walkthrough. Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe are to surely miss out on Wednesday’s encounter. Tuanzebe is out until September and Shaw will miss the game on the account of an ankle injury. Some of the youngsters like Diogo Dalot, James Garner and Teden Mengi who weren’t given as many chances in top-flight football are likely to make an appearance on Wednesday.
On the other side of the coin, the last few months have been a bumpy ride for LASK. The Austrian heavyweights were penalized 6 points for having an illegal full-squad practice in May. A secretly shot film of the full team having a practice session under head coach Ismael was leaked. Guidelines strictly instructed the clubs to have practice sessions only in small socially-distanced groups. Failing to abide by them not only resulted in the 6-point penalty, but it also lead to the sacking of Valerien Ismael.
LASK was on top of the table going into the lockdown and were clearly the most likely team to win the Austrian Bundesliga. But road hasn’t been kind to them, alongside the squad-practice controversy in May, they lost 6 of their last 10 matches only to finish at the 4th spot. However, they are on a three game unbeaten run in their European away fixtures.
The second leg fixture against United will be the new manager, Dominik Thalhammer’s first match in charge.
The Reds will be facing the winner of Istanbul Basaksehir vs. FC Copenhagen if they are to proceed to the next stage. The Europa League is Ole’s final shot to not end this season without a silverware.