Manchester United have to defeat Wolfsburg to guarantee their presence in the next phase of the UEFA Champions League. For the Germans, a draw will be enough to see them off to the next round. They could still lose their place in the playoff rounds if they lose to United and PSV manages to get a win over already-eliminated CSKA Moscow.
Both team’s Champions League lives are on the line, and here are the five United players Wolfsburg should be most wary of:
Martial hasn’t scored since October when he netted a goal against CSKA. Nevertheless, the young striker is hungry for a goal and will stop at nothing to guarantee United’s ticket to the next round.
His effort has been commendable, so much that Louis Van Gaal still has him in the Starting XI even with his goal drought. The weekend match against West Ham proved that it is a matter of time until Martial finds the net and he will be a handful for Dante and Naldo.
Smalling has been slowly making his case for the best defender in the Premier League. Rarely making any mistakes this season, the 26-year-old has been the pillar of Van Gaal’s defense and will play a vital part in today’s game dismantling Wolfsburg’s offense. During the weekend, he was one of the main reasons United didn’t get hit by any surprises against West Ham, nullifying Andy Carroll’s aerial game, West Ham’s main threat to De Gea.
Depay subbed into the match against West Ham and turned up the heat for the Red Devils. Unfortunately for the young Dutch player and Van Gaal, it wasn’t enough to break the barrier West Ham’s defense had set up. Nonetheless, Depay should earn a bid into the starting team for the Wolfsburg match. His speed and creativity could provide the difference for United if he manages to cause some mayhem down the left flank.
Schweinsteiger is coming from a very weak game against West Ham for his standards. The German midfielder failed to be the dominant figure Van Gaal and his team had gotten used to seeing in central midfield. He will be looking to bounce back from that performance, and what better way than to help his team get out of the group stage.
“1-0 will do on Tuesday,” Schweinsteiger said. “They will come at us more because they are at home and maybe that will be better for us.”
How he perform will be paramount for United’s chances, both defending and starting attacks, Schweinsteiger has to put in an exemplary performance if his team is to win.
5David De Gea
De Gea will be in the spotlight in this must-win match, especially if the Red Devils manage to get an early lead. The Spaniard will have to be secure and avoid mistake today more than ever. An error he made against West Ham almost cost United a point during the weekend, but against Wolfsburg an error like that could prove fatal to their Champions League chances since either a draw or a loss would be enough to knock Manchester out of the competition if PSV wins in the Netherlands.