Copenhagen have been decent in the Danish Superliga this campaign, while Manchester United’s season has been topsy-turvy, and the form going into this game isn’t entirely convincing.
Copenhagen’s journey into the group stages of the UEFA Champions League was not easy, as they were made to pass through several stages of the qualifiers. Although the Danish champions have been a part of this competition a few times, they have just been scratching the surface and have not made a significant impact.
Copenhagen’s 2023/24 season got underway with a 2-1 win over Lyngby in the Superliga before they faced Breidalik in the UEFA Champions League first-round qualifier match. They quickly dispatched the Icelandic side, claiming an 8-3 aggregate win. Fresh from that European success, another victory against Vejle followed in the Superliga before another comprehensive win over Randers at home.
In the next stage of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers against Sparta Prague, the Byens Hold played out a goalless first-leg scoreline. Still, the Danish side eventually claimed a 4-3 success over the Czech Republic side to zoom into the next stage of the qualifiers. Everything kept falling into line for Copenhagen as they added league wins over Odense and Hvidovre in the Superliga.
Polish side Rakow stood between Copenhagen and a spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage and got the job done. They took a 1-0 advantage from the first leg to the return fixture, which eventually ended 1-1, and they booked their place in the group stages of the elite competition this season.
However, the first defeat of the league campaign sponsored by Sikelborg was sandwiched in between that Champions League tie. Copenhagen won just one of their next three matches – beating Viborg and successive draws with Nordsjaelland and Galatasaray. Brondby also fell in the SuperLiga before a 9-0 thrashing of Lyseng to end September on a high. They are already winless in October after losing to Bayern Munich in their second UCL game; Midtjylland also defeated them in the league and a draw with Aarhus.
On the other hand, it is fast becoming a routine for Manchester United to struggle in the early parts of a new campaign. The Red Devils have made a turbulent start to the new season – conceding cheap goals and have lost multiple games already. Erik ten Hag’s men laboured to a 1-0 win over Wolves on the opening weekend before a 2-0 loss at Tottenham in London. They needed a comeback from two goals down to get a second win of the season against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford.
After those opening games of the season, the issues became prevalent. They suffered a demoralizing 3-1 defeat at Arsenal just before the September international break and resumed the league season with another 3-1 loss to Brighton at Old Trafford. The Red Devils then fell to Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Allianz Arena in Munich in their Champions League group opener but somewhat found a way to beat Burnley at Turf Moor to get their league campaign back on track. They made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a 3-0 bashing of Crystal Palace at home.
However, the Eagles would eventually walk into Old Trafford and take all three points when they met in the Premier League just a few days later. Turkish side Galatasaray then picked a win at Old Trafford to leave Manchester United bottom of their Champions League group before Scott McTominay inspired the Red Devils to a 2-1 comeback win over Brentford in the Premier League at home.
Copenhagen last hosted Manchester United in this competition 16 years ago. With both sides winning their respective home games – the match at Old Trafford finished 3-0 in favour of the English side. In that particular campaign, Copenhagen went on to finish bottom of the group.
Manchester United are staring at elimination and will need all the points they can get from this Copenhagen side. On the other hand, Copenhagen last made it out of a Champions League group in 2011, and they will need to compete in games like this to stand a chance.
The epic match at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen kicks off on Wednesday, 8th November, at 9 PM UK time, and it will be shown live on TNT Sports, with coverage starting from around 8 PM.
This is a UEFA Champions League clash between a former champion and a side trying to reach great heights. It will be a special night at the 38,065-capacity stadium, and Manchester United fans will be present and hope their club delivers this time.
Getting tickets for Copenhagen vs Manchester United tickets could take a lot of work, given this game’s profile. Hence, you are advised to search ticket reselling sites should they be expectedly sold out on each club’s channels.
Copenhagen does have a fair share of players nursing one injury concern or the other. Striker Andreas Cornelius has been missing since mid-September and could still miss the clash. Goalkeeper Grabara should continue in goal, while the likes of Achouri and Elyounoussi are expected to keep up the work in attack for the Danish side.
Copenhagen: Grabara; Melng, Vavro, Diks, Jelert; Goncalves, Falk, Lerager; Achouri, Larsson, Elyounoussi.
Meanwhile, Manchester United may have been struggling in recent weeks, but they still have so many players out injured. Erik ten Hag is expected to keep his starting XI for this game the same. Rashford and Hojlund should continue in attack for the Red Devils, while transfer deadline day signing Sofyan Amrabat will get to feature. Meanwhile, Luke Shaw, Kobbie Mainoo, Tyrell Malacia, Amad Diallo, Tom Heaton and Jadon Sancho are all long-term absentees.
Manchester United: Onana; Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Amrabat; Casemiro, McTominay; Fernandez, Casemiro, Rashford; Hojlund.
One fundamental problem Manchester United have battled this season is their inability to keep clean sheets. Ten Hag’s side knows they need a result here, or they might be playing in the Europa League by the turn of the new year.
Based on pedigree, this should have been a straightforward match, but the recent happenings around the Manchester club do not inspire confidence. Meanwhile, the Danish side, who are fond of scoring in games this season, won’t make it easy for them.
Copenhagen 0-1 Manchester United