Champions League Play-Off: Possible Opponents

By Andy Hyslop

  • Manchester United are one of five seeded teams for draw
  • Possible opponents are CSKA Moscow, Club Brugge, Lazio, Monaco and Rapid Vienna

Manchester United will find on Friday who they face in the Champions League play-off. After last matches of the third qualifying rounds, United have discovered the five teams they could face.

If Manchester United are going to return to the Champions League group stages, first they must overcome a two-legged play-off. There possible opponents in that play-off are CSKA Moscow, Club Brugge, Lazio, Monaco or Rapid Vienna. We take a closer look at these five teams to see what United could be facing.

CSKA Moscow

Champions LeagueIf United are drawn against CSKA Moscow, they will face a trip to the Arena Khimki, the ground has a capacity of 18,630. They share the ground with Dynamo Moscow as both clubs await the building of their new grounds. The Russian season has already started and Moscow have won three games out of three.

They reached this play-off, beating Sparta Prague 5-4 on aggregate in the third qualifying round. The first tie finished 2-2 and they Moscow won the second-leg 3-2 after being 2-0 down.

CSKA have won the Soviet/Russian league title on twelve occasions, with their last success coming in 2013/14. They are in this draw because they finished second in the league last season. Finishing seven points behind Champions Zenit St Petersburg.

CSKA are currently coached by Leonid Slutsky, he has been in charge of Moscow since October 2009. In his time in charge of Moscow, he has led them to two Russian League titles (2012/13, 2013/14), two Russian Cups (2010/11, 2012/13) and two Russian Super Cups (2013, 2014).

Club Brugge

Champions LeagueBelgian side Club Brugge finished second in the Belgian Pro League, despite finishing the regular season on top of the league. After the play-off games for the Championship Brugge finished second to Gent.

If United are drawn against Club Brugge, they face a trip to Jan Breydal Stadium, which has a capacity of 29,472. A ground they share with city rivals Cercle Brugge K.S.V. Throughout their history Brugge have reached two European finals and two European semi-finals. They are still the only Belgian side to have played in a European Cup final.

They reached this stage of the competition by beating Greek side Panathinaikos 4-2 on aggregate. Losing the first-leg 2-1 in Greece but then winning the second-leg 3-0. They have played two matches in the Belgian league already, winning one and losing one.

Lazio

Champions LeagueItalian side Lazio finished 3rd in Serie A last season, eighteen points behind Champions and Champions League finalist Juventus. Lazio like United have entered straight into the play-off round.

Lazio play their home games at the Stade Olimpico, a ground their share with city rivals Roma. The stadium has a capacity of 72,689. The stadium has host the Olympics, European Championship and World Cup finals and two Champions League finals in 1996 and 2009.

Current head coach Stefano Pioli was appointed in June of 2014, meaning like Van Gaal at United this is his second season in charge of the Italians. Lazio is his tenth club as a head coach. He enjoyed his best season, having a win rate of nearly 58%.

Monaco

Champions LeagueDespite being a principality, Monaco play in the French league because Monaco is not recognised by UEFA. Monaco are one of the most successful clubs in French football. They have won seven league titles and five French cups. They have competed regularly in European football, finishing runners-up in the Cup Winners Cup 1992 and Champions League in 2004.

They play their home games at Stade Louis II stadium, which has a capacity of 18,523. It is also the home of the Monaco national side. It also host the European Super Cup between 1998 and 2012.

Monaco finished third in the French league last season, meaning they went in the third qualifying round and faced Young Boys, who they beat 7-1 on aggregate. Winning the first-leg 3-1 and then the return in Monaco 4-0. They reached the quarter-finals of last season’s competition before narrowly losing out 1-0 on aggregate to eventual finalists Juventus.

Rapid Vienna

Champions LeagueRapid Vienna is the most popular and most successful team in the Austrian League. Winning the league title on 32 occasions. They play their home games at the Ernst Happel Stadium, which has a capacity of 50,865. This is their temporary home while their new stadium is built.

Vienna finished second in the Austrian top division last season. Finishing six points behind the Champions Red Bull Salzburg. Vienna entered the qualification rounds for the Champions League at the third qualifying round.

They faced Ajax in their third qualifying round and caused a shock by knocking out the Dutch giants. Vienna played the first-leg at home and that tie finished 2-2. Then in the return leg in Amsterdam Vienna won the game 3-2 to win the tie 5-4 and aggregate and book their place in the play-off round.

Who Would You Rather Face in Champions League Play-Off?

  • Rapid Vienna (38%, 5 Votes)
  • Club Brugge (31%, 4 Votes)
  • CSKA Moscow (23%, 3 Votes)
  • Monaco (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Lazio (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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About Andrew Hyslop 397 Articles
Creator of Sir Alex Ferguson Way and writer of football books https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01M1RVX27

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