Manchester United will make their return to the Champions League against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. The Reds finished third in the Premier League last season to secure their place in the group stages, where they will take on Bayern, Copenhagen and Galatasaray.
It is a welcome feeling for United having spent a year away from the premier European club competition after coming sixth under Ralf Rangnick during the 2021-22 campaign. Despite only being in charge for a little over 12 months, manager Erik ten Hag has overseen huge changes at Old Trafford, resulting in a top four spot and two cup finals.
Looking back to the last side United fielded in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid in 2022, only four players that featured would expect to be fighting for a place in the starting XI, this time around. Here’s a look at four key reasons why United are better-prepared for Champions League football:
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It may have been a sore spot for United in the early weeks of the season, but the quality that Ten Hag has at his disposal is undeniable. Both Casemiro and Sofyan Amrabat can compete for the holding role, while Bruno Fernandes continues to excel further forward. Christian Eriksen, a fit-again Mason Mount and Scott McTominay are likely to be fighting for the number eight spot.
During the team’s round of 16 exit at the hands of Atleti, 18 months ago, Rangnick started with a double pivot of Fred and McTominay, with Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Juan Mata featuring from the bench. Fans grew tiresome of the Fred-McTominay partnership and Ten Hag has addressedRead on manchestereveningnews.co.uk