David Moyes faces a tricky test in his first foray into the Champions League as Manchester United boss, with the visit of Bayer Leverkusen, but the Scot can rely on his experienced players to prevail at Old Trafford.
Stern examinations are arriving thick and fast for Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor, but his side’s chances of kicking off Group A with a win – priced at 4/6 by Ladbrokes – are aided by a rich history of home wins against German sides in the competition and the wealth of European experience in his squad.
Managed by former Liverpool skipper Sami Hyypia, Leverkusen have been busy building their reputation as the third force to come out of the Bundesliga, having finished only a point behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund last season.
They’ve started this campaign with a bang too, winning four from five league games, and it’s no surprise to see the draw set at 11/4 for this encounter as a result.
However, a recent away defeat against struggling Schalke was typical of a naivety they’ve displayed away from home in Europe in recent seasons as well.
A 2-0 defeat to Metalist in last season’s Europa League group stage was followed with a defeat at Benfica, which contributed to their exit at the round-of-32 stage.
That followed on from a disappointing Champions League campaign in 2011/12, where the Germans recorded losses at Chelsea and Valencia, while also failing to beat Genk.
Meanwhile, the sight of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie linking up to such great effect and both getting on the scoresheet against Crystal Palace will give United fans renewed optimism that their side can win their sixth straight European home tie against German opposition.
Rooney is 5/1 and to open the scoring and alongside other previous winners of this competition such as Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick, they can help the hosts to take control of the game.
Meanwhile, Leverkusen’s search for a first win in England will be stretched to nine games.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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