Quick links

Manchester United

Five Bayer Leverkusen players who could hurt Manchester United

Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen sit third in the Bundesliga table, unsurprisingly behind Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

There are few tougher group games that David Moyes could have asked for as he prepares to take charge of his first ever Champions League group game, under pressure to get Manchester United off to a solid start.

Here are five Bayer Leverkusen players who could hurt Manchester United.

Emir Spahic

Bosnian defender Emir Spahic has been one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga this season when it comes to reading the play.

He’s in the top five players across Germany’s top division for interceptions, making three per game based on league performances this season.

That means it could be very difficult for Manchester United to feed the ball through effectively to Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, making wider play down the flanks more important.

Simon Rolfes

Holding midfielder Simon Rolfes could prove to be a real thorn in the side of United, as he sits in front of the back four.

The 31-year-old has a passing success rate of just over 85% and is hitting just under three accurate long balls per game on average.

What that translates to is a player who is very effective when clearing the pressure on his own team, getting momentum going the other way as Bayer Leverkusen look to quickly form counter attacks.

Emre Can

Teenager Emre Can is a player that United should be firmly focused on.

He doesn’t have the impressive passing percentages compared to other talented midfielders in the Bundesliga but he’s finding 0.5 key through balls per game. That’s a better average than any Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich player.

That means he can lay a chance on a plate for any of his teammates in a split second.

Sidney Sam

Sam is a player who can play at the top of the midfield down either side of the pitch.

He’s made five Bundesliga appearances so far this season, scoring four goals and grabbing two assists in the process as well as just over three passes per game on average inside the opponent’s final third.

He’s definitely a player that United will have to keep an eye on, trying to pin him back to prevent the chance he could pop up in attacking positions.

Stefan Kiessling

Kiessling is a 29-year-old forward who has previously been linked with United’s arch rivals Liverpool.

The 29-year-old has the same number of goals as Sam in league football this season but he’s grabbed one more assist in open play.

He goes into this game in good form and is likely to be the one player that Sami Hyypia bases the side’s attacking play around, which makes it all the more important for United to keep him quiet.

Who should United be most wary of?

image: © eveos

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch