Manchester United visit the hostile environment of Besiktas in their opening game of the Champions League group stage. United will be looking to start the new campaign with a victory but the Turkish champions will be no pushovers.
Manchester United will be looking to go one better than last season and win the Champions League again this season. First United need to negotiate a tricky group which contains Besiktas, German champions Wolfsburg and Russian side CSKA Moscow.
The opponents in the first group game are Turkish double winners Besiktas. They have a very experienced coach in Mustafa Denizli and have some talented players in their squad including Nihat Kahveci who returned to Turkish football this summer from Spanish La Liga club Villarreal. They have also recruited ex-Everton defender Matteo Ferrari and solid central midfielder Fabian Ernst.
However United should have enough quality to defeat their opponents. Striker Wayne Rooney will be looking to continue his scoring form against the Black Eagles. He has fond memories of playing against Turkish sides having scored a hat-trick against Besiktas’s rivals Fenerbahce in his first season at United.
Despite the expected hot reception the champions will receive they will still be red hot favourites considering their opponents have struggled in this competition in recent times, including losing 8-0 to United’s bitter-rivals Liverpool in 2007. That scoreline might be a bit out of United’s reach in Istanbul but nevertheless a victory will be a good start to the campaign.