VfL Wolfsburg know victory against Manchester United FC would take the UEFA Champions League debutants through and coach Armin Veh fancies their chances against the injury-hit visitors.
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VfL Wolfsburg know that victory against Manchester United FC would take the UEFA Champions League debutants into the first knockout round and coach Armin Veh fancies their chances against the injury-hit visitors. Wolfsburg will progress from Group B as long as they do not secure fewer points in this game than PFC CSKA Moskva pick up at Beşiktaş JK, while United – who are through but still need a draw to be absolutely sure of first place – have travelled without 14 regular players, a defensive crisis meaning 13 of their 19-strong squad are midfielders.
Armin Veh, Wolfsburg coach
We have a great opportunity to reach the last 16. We have a home game in a full stadium against a United B team. Whether this is an advantage or a disadvantage at the moment, I cannot tell you. In Manchester, we played against the first team and performed very well and were unlucky to lose. We will do our best to reach the last 16. For us, this would be a huge success. We are playing very attractive football and are highly motivated and fit. We go into the game with passion and discipline. We have played very well so far in the Champions League, except for the second half in Moscow. I am very confident.
Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
There's no good news with all these injured players. We have left several players behind and we have a lot of thinking to do about team selection. That's going to be very important. As we've explained, with Rio Ferdinand we have no scheduled return date yet. Wes Brown has a hamstring strain. We hope to have him fit for Saturday but you have to be careful with hamstring injuries. And John O'Shea and Jonny Evans are both out until January. They're out for a few weeks. I think it's a great game for Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg will be happy that we have so many injured players. Whether we are first or second in the group is not so important. The main thing is that some of the injured players will be fit again for the Premier League at the weekend. I am in Wolfsburg for the first time: I didn't know the city before. That they have become German champions is phenomenal. This small town has done a wonderful thing.
05/12/09 Wolfsburg 2-2 SC Freiburg
(Bastians 27og, Johnson 81; Idrissou 19, Banović 51pen)
• All but seven of Wolfsburg's 29 Bundesliga goals this season have been scored after half-time, with nine coming in the last 15 minutes.
• Wolfsburg have won just four of their last 14 matches in all competitions, losing four.
05/12/09 West Ham United FC 0-4 United
(Scholes 45+1, Gibson 61, Valencia 70, Rooney 72)
• United's third successive league victory took them within two points of leaders Chelsea FC as Sir Alex Ferguson's side scored four goals in an away game for the second week in succession.
Out: Jonathan Santana (thigh), Obafemi Martins (left shinbone)
Misses next match if booked: none
• Grafite is available again after a two-game ban following his red card on Matchday 3.
Out: Owen Hargreaves (knee), Rio Ferdinand (calf), Fabio (groin), Jonny Evans (calf), John O'Shea (ankle), Edwin van der Sar (knee), Nemanja Vidić (flu), Gary Neville (groin), Wes Brown (hamstring), Rafael (not disclosed), Wayne Rooney (ankle), Dimitar Bebatov (groin)
Misses next match if booked: Nemanja Vidić
• Gary Neville was forced off during the first half at West Ham with a groin injury, while Wes Brown also limped off late on and Rafael missed the game altogether.
• United are unbeaten in their last 14 UEFA Champions League away matches, discounting the 2008 and 2009 finals which were played at neutral venues, though their 23-match undefeated home run was ended by Beşiktaş JK on Matchday 5.
• United last lost as the away team in a UEFA Champions League tie when they succumbed 3-0 at AC Milan in the 2006/07 semi-finals. Since then, they have recorded seven wins and seven draws, including 1-0 successes at Beşiktaş and CSKA this term. United have kept nine clean sheets in those 14 outings and conceded just six goals.
Did you know?
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has twice claimed European honours against German clubs – Aberdeen FC defeated Hamburger SV to land the 1983 UEFA Super Cup and United beat FC Bayern München in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final.
For more information on the match in the official press kit, click here.