5 things to know about Group A of Champions League
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
Here are five things to know to Tuesday’s matches:
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
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.
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
But Shakhtar has never won in England, having lost four and
drawn one match against London opponents.
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
But Bayer Leverkusen has emerged as Bayern Munich’s closest
challenger at home, although few doubt that Bayern will be
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
”In virtually all of Europe’s leagues, we would be top of the
standings,” Leverkusen technical director Rudi Voeller said.
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.