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'Improving' United await Wolfsburg visit

Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United "are improving every week" as they welcome Wolfsburg to Old Trafford looking to kick-start their Group B challenge.

Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay take part in training on Tuesday
Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay take part in training on Tuesday ©Getty Images
  • Louis van Gaal says Manchester United "are improving every week"
  • United manager praises impact of summer signing Bastian Schweinsteiger
  • United top the Premier League for the first time in more than two years
  • Wolfsburg have lost on all three previous visits to England
  • Dieter Hecking says Wolfsburg are "looking to build" on their opening win

Possible lineups
Manchester United:
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Darmian; Schweinsteiger, Carrick; Mata, Rooney, Depay; Martial.
Out: Rojo (hamstring), Shaw (broken leg), Carrick (muscle)
: McNair (unknown), Valencia (knock), Herrera (knock)

Wolfsburg: Benaglio; Träsch, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez; Guilavogui, Arnold, Caligiuri, Draxler, Kruse; Dost.
Out: Knoche (ankle), Felipe (foot), Vieirinha (thigh)
Doubtful: Luiz Gustavo (knee)

Louis van Gaal, Manchester United manager
In the Champions League you have to win your home games, otherwise it will be very difficult to progress. It is not impossible, but winning the home games is the key.

I think Michael Carrick won't play, and Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera have minor injuries, but I really don't want to take the risk like we have done with Wayne Rooney. It's better to give players a rest for one match rather than losing them for a long period.

[Bastian Schweinsteiger] was my captain [at Bayern München] together with [Philipp] Lahm. He has adapted really well. Already he is accepted as a leading player and that's why we signed him from Bayern. We are trying to mix young players with guys who have plenty of experience. And Bastian is a perfect role model for the young players. I'm really happy for him.

We have made a big progress as a team, we've become more mature.  Bastian has added some balance while Morgan Schneiderlin gives us more composure. We've definitely improved compared to last year, but we still need to even more and I can assure you we are improving. I see it every week.

Reaching the final is the aim, while to win a final you need some luck. It is not only the quality; it's also luck. For me as a manager if you have reached the final, you have done fantastically. If you're able to win it, it's incredible.

Wayne Rooney: My Magic Moment

Dieter Hecking, Wolfsburg coach
This ground is called the 'Theatre of Dreams'. I don't have dreams, I prefer reality. A win would not be bad but the most important thing is to play well.

Every Champions League game is a challenge. But we're in a good position after the first win against CSKA Moskva and we're looking to build on that. To play at Old Trafford will be a great experience but we need to concentrate on our performance to hope for a positive result. We have come here to play football.

People have been overly critical of us lately after our 5-1 loss to Bayern and 1-1 draw with Hannover. We made some changes to the squad over the summer, signing good players like Max Kruse for example. Of course most people will say United will win but we need to put pressure on them. Yes, they are the more experienced side but let's wait and see what happens on the pitch.

This will be my first visit to Old Trafford and I agree the atmosphere can have an impact on the result, but I'm not worried about that. I just hope my players will prove Wolfsburg are a very good team.

Weekend results
Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland (Depay 45+4, Rooney 46, Mata 90)
United took full advantage of Manchester City's earlier defeat to move top of the Premier League, Wayne Rooney moving level with Denis Law on 171 league goals.

Bas Dost celebrates against Hannover
Bas Dost celebrates against Hannover©AFP/Getty Images

Wolfsburg 1-1 Hannover (Dost 40; Kiyotake 57)
Having led Bayern München 1-0 at half-time only to lose 5-1 and concede their unbeaten Bundesliga record last Tuesday, Wolfsburg were pegged back again by bottom side Hannover, who secured just their second point of the campaign.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Manchester United
Wolfsburg: DLWWDW

Reporter's view: Simon Hart (@UEFAcomSimonH)
Louis van Gaal's men should have a spring in their step after compiling three straight wins since their defeat in Eindhoven. Anthony Martial has hit the ground running in a United shirt, increasing the team's threat in the final third, and they are top of the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson's reign ended in May 2013. Wolfsburg showed at Everton last season that they have an attacking threat but they still lost on that occasion, as they have every time they have visited England.

Did you know?
This game is six years to the day since the clubs' opening meeting in the 2009/10 group stage; find out more in our match background.

City guide: Manchester