Soccer

5 things to know about Group A of Champions League

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MANCHESTER, England (AP)

With a space in the knockout phase of the Champions League already secured, Manchester United needs only a draw against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday to win Group A.

In the other group match, Bayer Leverkusen hosts Real Sociedad.

Here are five things to know to Tuesday's matches:

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MOYES MISERY

Manchester United won the Premier League by 11 points under manager Alex Ferguson, but the team is only ninth so far this season - 13 points behind leader Arsenal - under David Moyes.

''We've got roughly the same squad that was champions last year,'' Moyes said. ''We've not changed an awful lot in that period. I need to make sure I'm getting the best out of the players and we are performing as well as we possibly can.

''I do think we can play better but there were a lot of games last year where Manchester United didn't play particularly well and maybe, in a game like that, sneaked it with a goal.''

After 15 of 38 Premier League games, United is seven points from fourth place - and Champions League qualification. Moyes will be hoping he doesn't have to win the Champions League to guarantee his team is still competing alongside European football's elite next season.

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UNITED SHORTAGES

Moyes could be short of options against Shakhtar as United chases a win that could ensure a more favorable draw in the round of 16 by winning the group.

Defenders Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling, as well as midfielder Marouane Fellaini, were missing from the open section of Monday's training session. Midfielder Michael Carrick is already out with an Achilles injury.

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SHAKHTAR SHOCK?

Only a victory will earn Shakhtar first place, and guarantee qualification regardless of the outcome of the other match. Shakhtar is only one point ahead of third-place Bayer Leverkusen.

But Shakhtar has never won in England, having lost four and drawn one match against London opponents.

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LEVERKUSEN BOOST

While strong at home, Leverkusen has been a lot less convincing in the Champions League. The team is coming off a 5-0 drubbing at home by Manchester United, which scored nine goals in two matches against them.

But Bayer Leverkusen has emerged as Bayern Munich's closest challenger at home, although few doubt that Bayern will be overtaken.

With 37 from a possible 45 points, Leverkusen would be at the top of the standings in most Bundesliga seasons. After 15 matches, Leverkusen has more points than any other second-place team in Bundesliga history.

''In virtually all of Europe's leagues, we would be top of the standings,'' Leverkusen technical director Rudi Voeller said.

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PLAYING FOR PRIDE

With only one point at the bottom of Group A, Real Sociedad is only playing for pride against Leverkusen.

The Basque club will be without Inigo Martinez because of a left leg injury, while fellow defender Alberto de la Bella is also unavailable because of injury. Sociedad remains without midfielders Esteban Granero and David Zurutuza.

Forward Antoine Griezmann is still looking for his first European goal after scoring nine in the Spanish league this season for the sixth-place club.

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