There was plenty of mutual respect as Sami Hyypiä and David Moyes discussed Wednesday's meeting of the top two in UEFA Champions League Group A.
Moyes admits Bayer 04 Leverkusen's quality has surprised him, forcing him to reassess his prediction that FC Shakhtar Donetsk would provide Manchester United FC's main barrier to the UEFA Champions League knockout phase. The English team looked comfortable enough when the sides met on matchday one, winning 4-2. It was, Hyypiä conceded, a case of stage fright – his troops will not make the same mistake again, especially at home.
• The English champions will secure first place if they defeat Leverkusen in Germany and Shakhtar fail to win at home to Real Sociedad de Fútbol. Hyypiä's men can also wrap up qualification – though not top spot – with a victory.
Sami Hyypiä, coach
It is an important match for both sides, but we're the home team. We have played a lot of good matches here so far, and this is what I expect tomorrow. It won't be easy for United to win here.
In Manchester we were a bit frightened to play our game, but since we are at home, we want to show our qualities and play in a more uninhibited way. Of course, United have a very good team with a lot of individual quality. We have to work as a team, then we'll be able to beat them.
It's quite difficult to replace a legend like Sir Alex Ferguson. Everybody expects things to continue the way they were, but so far Moyes has not had the easiest time. But remember, in recent years United have often had problems to start with and ended up winning the league.
At this level, small things decide results, and maybe Moyes has changed some things and now it needs a bit of time until everything works.
Saturday: Hertha BSC Berlin 0-1 Leverkusen (Kiessling 28)
Leno; Donati, Wollscheid, Toprak, Can; Lars Bender, Rolfes, Castro; Sam (Hegeler 4, Kohr 88), Kiessling, Son (Kruse 72).
• Leverkusen did just enough to get three points with Stefan Kiessling notching his eighth German Bundesliga goal of the season from Jens Hegeler's pass. Having scored with their first meaningful chance, Leverkusen were back-pedalling for much of the remainder of the match, Bernd Leno making some fine saves.
Sidney Sam will be absent with a thigh injury picked up at the weekend, but Sebastian Boenisch should return after being rested due to tendon trouble.
David Moyes, manager
The group is very open. We had a good opportunity at Sociedad to defend a good position but [after a 0-0 draw there] we have a big job here in Germany. We know it is going to be a hard game tomorrow and we have to do our job so that it doesn't go to the final game against Shakhtar.
The next game is always the most important. My initial feeling when I saw the group was that Shakhtar would be the toughest game but this is our last away game and, as it stands, Leverkusen have great home form and are in good shape. It's going to be tough but we have to take points out of this game.
We have had good results at home. We need to show the same away from home. It's important we get a result of sorts to keep us in a strong position in the group. We have to make sure we're defensively sound and also that we go out there to win.
Hyypiä is doing a good job. Leverkusen are a good side doing well in a very good league. Your first job is never easy and the key to your first job is always to win enough games to help you stay in the job and continue to improve. Sami is showing that at this moment in time.
Saturday: Cardiff City AFC 2-2 United (Campbell 33, Kim 90; Rooney 15, Evra 45)
De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Fellaini, Cleverley; Valencia, Rooney, Januzaj (Welbeck 68); Hernández (Giggs 73).
• Substitute Kim Bo-Kyung struck at the death to deny United all three points in the Welsh capital, but after a shaky start, Moyes's side are now unbeaten in ten games in all competitions.
Moyes confirmed that Robin van Persie (groin) and Nemanja Vidić (concussion) are both out, while Phil Jones (groin) and Rafael (ankle) are doubts after missing the Cardiff match. Marouane Fellaini serves a one-game suspension.
• Hyypiä spent a decade at Liverpool FC from 1999 to 2009, making 318 Premier League appearances. The Finn registered his first goal in English football in Liverpool's 3-2 home loss to United in September 1999 and earned his only red card as a Liverpool player in a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford in April 2003. The previous month he had appeared in Liverpool's 2-0 League Cup final triumph against the Old Trafford club.
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