With the first leg of the third qualifying round of this year’s Champions League kicking off on Tuesday night, we take a look at Manchester United’s potential opponents for when they enter the competition in the play-off round.
One of these ten potential opponents will face United next month:
Sporting, CSKA/Sparta Prague, Lazio, Panathinaikos/Brugge, Young Boys/Monaco, Fenerbahce, Rapid Vienna
With Valencia and Leverkusen also awaiting teams from the third qualifying round, United have a relatively good bunch of teams to face up against, considering Ajax are also still in the competition along with Basel and Celtic.
Monaco and Lazio will probably be considered the major heavyweights left in the competition at this stage for the Old Trafford club to face, while an interesting tie would be if United were picked to play against recently transferred Robin van Persie, who is now plying his trade at Fenerbahce.
The third qualifying round first leg ties, which manager Louis van Gaal will surely be watching with interest on Tuesday and Wednesday night are:
CSKA vs Sparta Prague, July 28.
Panathinaikos vs Club Brugge, July 28.
Young Boys vs Monaco, July 28.
Fenerbahce vs Shakhtar Donetsk, July 28.
Rapid Vienna vs Ajax, July 29.
All the above ties will be finally decided during next week’s second leg games on the 4th and 5th of August. The only side who won’t play, out of ten sides United could face, are Sporting Lisbon, who join Van Gaal’s men already in the play-off round.
United will find out who they are to face in the play-off on August 7, when the draw is made.
The ties will take place on Tuesday the 18th or Wednesday the 19th of July (first leg) and Tuesday the 25th or Wednesday the 26th of August (second leg).
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena