Champions League 21-22 Preview: United Start Tournament Against Strong Young Boys Side
Manchester United will head to Switzerland tomorrow to kick-off an optimistic Champions League campaign for the Red Devils. United will face Swiss side Young Boys tomorrow night.
United announced the traveling squad on Monday as well as the main squad and five main replacements. Edinson Cavani misses out because of an injury in training lead up to the Newcastle match. U23 players Matej Kovar and Anthony Elanga will travel with the squad.
United took care of business this weekend against Newcastle and with a loaded international break some squad rotation could happen. Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof could be rotated in. The Red Devils face an inform West Ham side on Sunday.
Champions League Expectations
The Cristiano Ronaldo signing has renewed optimism for Champions League success after a disappointing group stage exit last season. The defending run away Swiss champs is a stern test on the road to open the group for United.
The summer signings of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have given fans new hope for silverware in the competition. In his podcast Gary Neville explains the atmosphere around the city of Manchester since the arrival of Ronaldo.
We have mentioned on this blog before about the caliber of player Ronaldo is and his lofty expectations of himself and the players around him. It has instantly elevated the club so much already that the squad has already began to mimic Ronaldo’s diet.
Young Boys won the Swiss League by 31 points last season. It is only a 10-team league, but their are decent teams in that league, FC Basel have produced great players playing at a high level in Europe now and in the past. Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Ivan Rakitic are a few. St. Gallen is also decent.
Teams like Young Boys, FC Basel and other central European clubs thrive and play for Europe mostly. They compete well in Champions League and Europa League with the occasional shock victory or close game that showcases the talent that they eventually sell.
Young Boys got dropped in the round of 16 of the Europa League by Ajax last season. In the previous round they knocked out Bayern Leverkusen, scoring for at home and picking up an impressive win 2-0 win at Leverkusen on the return leg.
Champions League qualifying was not the easiest. They got passed two solid regional sides, Romanian champions CFR Cluj and Hungarian champions Ferencvaros.
Young Boys are managed by former Huddersfield manager David Wagner. Wagner was sacked early in the 2020 season with Schalke as the club was eventually relegated. Wagner was hired by Young Boys this summer.
Their is some solid talent in the Swiss side. American international Jordan Siebatcheu leads the line and scored 15 goals for the club in all competitions. Jean-Pierre Nsame a top forward on the club is injured. Meschack Elia and Felix Mambimbi are two exciting players from DR Congo.
Miralem Sulejmani is experienced on the outside. Christian Fassnacht, Nicolas Moumi Ngameleu and Marvin Spielmann are also effective outside and 19-year-old Alexandre Jankewitz joins an already solid midfield on loan from Southampton. Jankewitz was sent off against United in that 9-0 thumping last season.
David von Ballmoos has been the starting keeper for the club since 2017 and kept 19 clean sheets in 42 games last season. He will be shielded mainly by Silvan Hefti, Sandro Lauper, Mohamed Camara and Cedric Zesiger. Club captain and central defender Fabian Lustenberger is currently injured.
Champions League is a big way for these players to gain exposure especially against a team like United with plenty of eyes on them. Both sides will look to start their Champions League campaign off strong and a draw for Young Boys would be huge, they are also fighting for third, a Europa League appearance would also be a success for the club.