Manchester United will be bidding to end a successful 2021-22 Champions League group-stage campaign on a positive note when they welcome Young Boys to Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils have already advanced to the round of 16 as Group F winners, while Young Boys can still finish third but need to win in Manchester and hope that Atalanta BC lose to Villarreal.
Ralf Rangnick made the perfect start to his reign as Man United interim manager on Sunday, with Fred’s second-half effort handing the Red Devils a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League; the result moved the team into sixth position in the table, now just three points behind the top four.
The 20-time English champions will face Norwich City and Brentford away in their next two league games, and Rangnick will have the luxury of resting players for this Champions League fixture, with the club already guaranteed a spot in the knockout round of the competition as Group F winners.
Man United have not shown their best form in this year’s group stage and actually lost their opener away to Young Boys in the middle of September, but they have picked up 10 points from their last four matches, and the 2-0 success over Villarreal on November 23 secured a spot in the round of 16.
It will be fascinating to see what the team can achieve this season under Rangnick, with the German’s high-pressing brand of football on full display against Palace on Sunday; it was far from perfect, but there was a huge improvement, and the clean sheet was the team’s first at Old Trafford in the league this term.
The festive period will be key for the Red Devils in their bid to move back into the top four, and the January transfer window is also expected to be key for the club, who are still more than capable of carving out a successful 2021-22 campaign despite their early-season issues.
Young Boys, meanwhile, are currently fourth in Group F, boasting four points from their five matches courtesy of a record of one win, one draw and three defeats.
The Swiss outfit are only two points behind third-placed Atalanta and can still claim a Europa League spot, although they would need to win at Old Trafford and hope that Atalanta lose to second-placed Villarreal.
Young Boys, who won the Swiss Super League for the 15th time last term, have already played 11 times in this season’s Champions League, having entered the competition in the second qualifying round, while they have lost only four of their last 10 away European matches, which should hand them confidence.
David Wagner’s team have lost two of their last three league games, including a 2-1 defeat to Servette on Saturday, which has left them down in fourth position in the Super League.
The Yellows and Blacks know what it takes to beat Man United, though, having come from behind to record a 2-1 victory over the Red Devils in the reverse match in Bern on September 14.
Manchester United Champions League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Young Boys Champions League form:
Young Boys form (all competitions):
We say: Manchester United 2-1 Young Boys
Young Boys will fancy their chances of picking up a positive result here, as Man United prepare to make wholesale changes to their strongest XI, but we still believe that the Red Devils will have enough to end their Champions League group-stage campaign on a positive note.