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AaB aim to increase holders' frustrations

After frustrating Celtic FC on Matchday 1, Bruce Rioch's Aalborg BK welcome Manchester United FC to Denmark hoping to prolong the holders' stuttering start to their UEFA Champions League campaign.

Karim Zaza was the AaB hero on Matchday 1
Karim Zaza was the AaB hero on Matchday 1 ©Getty Images

Aalborg BK welcome Manchester United FC to Denmark aiming to build on their encouraging start in Group E and increase the frustrations of the UEFA Champions League holders.

• Bruce Rioch's AaB earned a point in a goalless draw at Celtic FC on Matchday 1, when United played out their own stalemate with Villarreal CF at Old Trafford.

• AaB will have taken considerably more satisfaction from their result. Goalkeeper Karim Zaza stopped Barry Robson's penalty on the half-hour and despite finishing with ten men they held out to claim a draw against opponents who had previously won six consecutive home matches in the group stage.

• United's draw with Villarreal, by contrast, ended their 12-game winning streak in UEFA Champions League home games – and brought their first blank at Old Trafford since Villarreal's last visit there in November 2005.

• The sides have never met before but AaB coach Rioch has experience of facing United – and indeed boasts a 100 per cent winning record in home fixtures against the Old Trafford club as a manager.

• At Middlesbrough FC the former Scottish international oversaw a 1-0 home victory against Sir Alex Ferguson's team in the English top flight in January 1989 and later achieved an identical home result with Arsenal FC in November 1995. In both those campaigns, his team lost by the same score at Old Trafford.

• AaB will need no introduction to United striker Dimitar Berbatov, who found the net against them last season for Tottenham Hotspur FC.

• The Bulgarian sparked Tottenham's comeback victory against AaB in a UEFA Cup group stage match on 29 November last year. The Danish team led 2-0 at White Hart Lane through first-half goals from Thomas Enevoldsen and Kasper Risgård but Berbatov's 46th-minute strike gave renewed hope to a Tottenham side who eventually prevailed 3-2.

• AaB won both their home matches on the path to the UEFA Champions League group stage. They defeated FK Modriča 5-0 in the second qualifying round (agg 7-1), then FBK Kaunas 2-0 in the third qualifying round (agg 4-0).

• Yet the Danish champions had mixed fortunes at home in the UEFA Cup last season, beating HJK Helsinki (3-0), recording draws with UC Sampdoria (0-0) and RSC Anderlecht (1-1), and losing to Getafe CF (1-2).

• In their one previous UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 1995/96, AaB collected their entire points haul from their home matches. They beat Panathinaikos FC 2-1 and held FC Porto 2-2, either side of losing 2-0 to FC Nantes.

• United are unbeaten in six matches on their travels in the UEFA Champions League, having recorded three wins and three draws away from home in the competition last season.

• They will hope to avoid a repeat of their 1-0 defeat at FC København on their last trip to Denmark, Marcus Allbäck's 73rd-minute goal deciding matters in a group stage fixture on 1 November 2006.

• The three-time European champions' only other visit to Denmark came in the 1998/99 season when Sir Alex Ferguson's men humbled Brøndby IF 6-2 – the only time a team have ever scored more than five goals away from home in the UEFA Champions League proper. Ryan Giggs scored twice that night while Wes Brown and Gary Neville also featured in United's starting lineup.

• Besides Tottenham, the only other English club AaB have faced previously are Everton FC, their opponents in the 1966/67 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round. After a goalless draw in Denmark, they lost 2-1 at Goodison Park where Bjarne Lildballe struck for the visitors either side of goals from Johnny Morrissey and Alan Ball.

• Everton are one of the clubs that AaB manager Rioch appeared for during a playing career in England that also included spells with Luton Town FC, Aston Villa FC, Derby County FC – where he won the 1974/75 league championship – Birmingham City FC, Sheffield United FC and Torquay United FC.

• The list of English clubs on his coaching CV comprises Torquay, Middlesbrough, Bolton Wanderers FC, Arsenal, Norwich City FC and Wigan Athletic FC. 

• The other Group E game on Matchday 2 pits Villarreal against Celtic.