Man Utd`s injury list boosts Wolfsburg

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 17:16

Berlin: German champions VfL Wolfsburg are hoping to take advantage of Manchester United`s growing casualty list when they take on the English giant on Tuesday for a place in the Champions League`s last 16.

Sir Alex Ferguson`s formidable side has earned a reputation as away-day specialists in Europe during the past three seasons, going unbeaten in 14 matches, apart from the 2008 and 2009 finals played at neutral venues.

United`s 23-match undefeated home run was ended by Turkey`s Besiktas in their last European game, leaving the three-time European champions on ten points, three above their German hosts and CSKA Moscow.

United are already through, but a draw in Germany would guarantee them a place in the first knockout round as group winners, but Ferguson admits he is struggling for options in defence.

Both defenders Wes Brown and Gary Neville limped off in the 4-0 win at West Ham leaving the Reds with eight defenders struggling to be fit for Wolfsburg.

"I don`t know where I`m going to get a back four for Tuesday," Ferguson said.

"The injuries in defence are becoming a bit of a headache to us."

Wolfsburg, meanwhile, must win to be sure of going through as group runners-up and hope Moscow struggle against Besiktas in Turkey.

United had to come from behind to defeat Wolfsburg 2-1 at Old Trafford in September after Wolves` Edin Dzeko scored an early goal before Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick netted to save United`s blushes.

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has hinted that the Premier League champions could make a move to sign Dzeko and the 23-year-old, has 14 goals in 23 appearances for his country Bosnia and Herzegovina his country.

"He has stature, his feet are good and he is producing some good performances. I am sure everybody has looked at him," said Phelan.

Wolfsburg, who warmed up for the United test by coming from behind to draw 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Saturday, have taken four points from their two Group B home games so far, but United will pose their toughest test yet.

United last lost as the away team in a UEFA Champions League tie when they succumbed 3-0 at AC Milan in the 2006-07 semi-finals.

Since then, they have recorded seven wins and seven draws, including 1-0 successes at Besiktas and CSKA this term.

United have kept nine clean sheets in those 14 outings and conceded just six goals.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 17:16

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