Manchester United s Scottish midfielder #39 Scott McTominay (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Manchester United at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on October 21, 2023. AFP
Old Trafford is set for an emotional evening as Manchester United hosts FC Copenhagen in the first match at the stadium since the death of Bobby Charlton, one of United’s greatest players.
Charlton died Saturday and there will be tributes to the late England international ahead of the game. United is looking to win its first points in the group after losing the opening two games, to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray. Bayern Munich heads to Turkey looking for its 16th win in a row in Champions League group-stage games.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka did not travel with the squad Monday after fracturing his hand in the win over Mainz on Saturday and other absentees include forward Serge Gnabry, who remains out with an arm injury, and defender Dayot Upamecano.
Galatasaray is coming off a surprise 3-2 win over United but has concerns over its star forward Mauro Icardi. He scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Besiktas on Saturday but also hurt his ankle.
A surprising win for Lens over Arsenal in the last round of games has thrown wide open a group also containing PSV Eindhoven and Sevilla. Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from that loss — its only defeat in 13 matches this season in all competitions — when the English team travels to Sevilla. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has to weigh up whether to bring back goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who has been dropped to accommodate summer signing David Raya.
Raya has been shaky for Arsenal so far and made a couple of big mistakes in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea in the Premier League, including letting a cross go over his head and into the net for one of Chelsea’s goals.
Lens, which leads the group on four points, hosts PSV, which is in last place on one point, in the other game.
Real Madrid will look to strengthen its hold on first place when it visits third-place Braga. A third straight win in the group will leave Madrid in good position to make it to the knockout stage for the 28th consecutive time. The Portuguese side has never advanced past the group stage. It is making its third Champions League appearance, and first in 11 seasons. Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti still won’t be able to count on goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, defender Éder Militão and midfielder Arda Güler because of injuries. Midfielder Dani Ceballos is listed as doubtful because of a muscle ailment.
Braga could be without defender Victor Gómez because of a thigh injury. Napoli will still be without standout forward Victor Osimhen for the trip to Union Berlin as he recovers from thigh injury sustained while with Nigeria’s national team.
However, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia appears back to his stunning best and he scored two goals to help Napoli beat Hellas Verona 3-1 on Saturday. Napoli is level on points with Braga, three behind Madrid.
Union Berlin’s first season in the Champions League is turning into something of an ordeal. Union lost 3-0 to Stuttgart on Saturday for its eighth straight loss in all competitions and has lost both of its Champions League games so far on goals conceded deep into added time.
After two consecutive losses, last-place Benfica looks to get back into contention when it hosts group leader Real Sociedad. The Portuguese side was a quarterfinalist last season but needs the victory to maintain a realistic chance of returning to the knockout stage. Sociedad is making its third Champions League group appearance, and first since 2013-14.
The Spanish side reached the last 16 in its debut in 2003-04, losing both legs to Lyon. Last year’s runner-up, Inter Milan will again look to Lautaro Martínez and Marcus Thuram to spearhead its attack against Salzburg.
Both were on target in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Torino that lifted Inter top of Serie A and they have scored Inter’s only goals in the Champions League this campaign. Martínez is in particularly good form, having already netted 12 times this season. Inter is level on points with Sociedad and just a point above Salzburg.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)