Five talking points as Manchester United visit Club Brugge in Champions League


Manchester United take a 3-1 lead to Club Brugge for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League playoff. The winners move onto the competition’s group stage. The losers book a ticket to the Europa League.

Here, we look at five key talking points ahead of Wednesday’s match.


Moments after Marouane Fellaini had nodded in a 95th minute header last week at Old Trafford, van Gaal was preaching a message of caution. “The players shall know now that Brugge is a very difficult club to beat,” was the Dutchman’s warning to his players. Still, it is easy to see why United are overwhelming favorites to progress. Michel Preud’homme’s squad have been decimated by injury and they lost to unheralded Waregem in the Belgian league at the weekend.

SEE MORE: Club Brugge manager left hoping for ‘miracles’ ahead of visit from Manchester United.



Rooney stretched his goalless scoring streak to 10 United matches in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Newcastle. The United captain had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside call in the fourth minute but did little else to suggest he is in the kind of form that will help him deliver van Gaal the 20 goals he wants from him this season.

SEE MORE: Barcelona dismiss Neymar’s Manchester United link, plan to offer star new contract.



Van Gaal dropped Rooney into the number 10 role when Javier Hernandez came off the bench on Saturday, but it is hard to see the manager pushing his captain into a deeper role from the kickoff. He has constantly maintained he sees Rooney as his number nine this season, so it would be foolish to see him anywhere but leading the line. Ashley Young could return to the starting XI in place of Adnan Januzaj, who has faded after a bright start against the Magpies two weeks ago. Other than that, the only change van Gaal could make is to bring Michael Carrick in for Bastian Schweinsteiger. Sergio Romero will continue in goal.

SEE MORE: Louis van Gaal denies Manchester United need more firepower.


Victor Vazquez – an attacking midfielder who has been linked with a number of Spanish clubs this summer. Vazquez was in the same Barcelona youth team as Lionel Messi, but only made one start for the Catalan giants after graduating from the club’s La Masia youth academy. The 28-year-old was so impressive for Brugge last season that he won the league player of the year award. He also set up Brugge’s only goal at Old Trafford, sending over the free kick which Carrick turned into his own net.

SEE MORE: Manchester United 3-1 Brugge: Memphis Depay lights up Old Trafford [VIDEO].


Barclays Premier League 2014/15 Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester, United Kingdom - 15 Mar 2015

In terms of prize money alone, United will earn just under £10 million for qualifying for the group stage. Another £30 million in prize money would follow if they win the competition. The same amount could follow from TV money, dependent on how the other English teams fare in the competition.

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