A guide to Manchester United's potential Champions League opponents

Denis Doyle

Manchester United's potential opponents in the first knockout round of the Champions League aren't too daunting, but there are a few potentially difficult encounters in there.

Galatasaray

Galatasaray are potentially the hardest team available in the next round. It's worth casting your mind back to the classic 1993 encounter to imagine how difficult it could be, with the likes of Didier Drogba and Manchester United legend Wesley Sneijder providing plenty of quality to go along with the most intimidating of away trips. Overall, we'd still be favourites, and although they do have a good squad, Istanbul is lovely and it'll provide us with the opportunity to get one over on Roberto Mancini.

Olympiakos

The weakest of all the teams available, Olympiakos should provide a pretty easy passage into the Quarter-Finals. The away trip may be a slightly daunting one, but United should have the quality to get through both legs fairly easily.

Schalke

A potentially tricky tie, but one we should still be confident of winning. The last time we played Schalke saw the bizarre scene of a half-empty Old Trafford lazily applauding the team for making it to the final after easing past a pretty woeful Schalke (where only a superhuman display from Manuel Neuer had prevented an utter rout) and the team is not hugely better. Are below Bayer Leverkusen in the league, but would be a surprise if they didn't offer more resistance.

Zenit St. Petersburg

Zenit have some very good players, but don't seem to be able to translate that into good performances in Europe. They managed to get through with a pitifully low six points in the group stages, and while the away trip will be a pain, United should be coming through. But with the players they have, it's always possible that they could spring an upset. Not as difficult as Galatasaray but perhaps slightly less desirable, what with the weather and the racism and so forth.

AC Milan

The only Serie A team to make it through the group stages, and the one doing by far the worst in the league, Milan are a very strange team at the moment. Historically, they've always been better in Europe, and that's seemed to be the case this year too. Our recent encounters have been overwhelming United victories, but both teams have changed drastically since then. Oddly considering their size, the difficulty of this would be something of an unknown.

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