VfL Wolfsburg v Manchester United Betting Preview
Back a draw in this vital Champions League tie
After moving top of the group with nine points from five games, Wolfsburg look set to secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. A draw with Manchester United would guarantee qualification, but depending on how results go elsewhere a win would be needed to secure top spot in the group. They don’t come into the game in the best of form after winning only three of their last eight matches in all competitions, but they’ll be looking to take advantage of United’s slow and patient style of play to secure their place in the next round.
In the Champions League, Wolfsburg’s form has been impressive, winning three of their five games. Their 100% winning record at home will give them some much-needed confidence heading into this vital final round-robin tie, and the fact that they haven’t conceded a goal in either of their two matches at the Volkswagen Arena will make it difficult for United to find a way through. The German side are currently fifth in the Bundesliga on 25 points, 15 behind leaders Bayern Munich, and will come into the game on the back of a dramatic 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
United’s place in the next round of the Champions League is far from confirmed – it’s likely that a win will be the only possible outcome for the Red Devils on Tuesday if they are to make it out of the group. They currently sit second on eight points, one behind Wolfsburg and one ahead of third-placed PSV. A win for United would secure qualification and top spot in the group, but a draw and PSV can snatch qualification away from Louis van Gaal’s men if they win their tie against CSKA Moscow. United will have to produce their best performance of the season, that’s for sure.
United have only lost once in their last 16 matches in all competitions, and are unbeaten in their last 11, a run in which they have only conceded three goals. They may have one of the strongest defences in Europe, but their lack of attacking threat and accuracy in front of goal is becoming a serious concern as they have only scored four goals in their last nine games. To make matters worse, van Gaal’s side haven’t won away from home since October 17th, and a number of high-profile injuries to add to their woes means that United will be in search of a miracle on Tuesday evening. I can’t see United winning the game, but the result in Holland may well mean they qualify anyway.
Captain Wayne Rooney is a definite absentee, as too are Ander Herrera and Phil Jones. Louis van Gaal is likely to start Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay as his side will surely have to score to stand a chance of qualifying.
The two sides have met three times since the 2009/10 season, with United winning all three encounters. The last meeting came back in September when goals from Juan Mata and Chris Smalling turned a 1-0 deficit around into what may prove to be three vital points for the Old Trafford side. United have never kept a clean sheet against Wolfsburg, and that is a worry.
To score – Anthony Martial 2/1
The onus will definitely fall on this man to bring home the victory on Tuesday. The French striker has been the shining light in what has been a dull period at Manchester United, he looks threatening and purposeful on the ball and unlike many other United players isn’t afraid to take on an opponent. He has one Champions League goal to his name, and I have money on him to find the back of the net in this one. Odds of 2/1 say Martial will score at any time – a very appetising offer indeed.
Both teams to score – Yes 5/6
This game is of huge importance, and both sides will be desperate to find a goal to make the prospect of qualification that little bit more likely. Wolfsburg have scored in all 11 of their home games this season, but have only kept six clean sheets in 20 matches in all competitions, compared to United’s 14 in 24. Both sides have scored in all three of their previous meetings, and I would recommend taking up odds of 5/6 for it to happen again on Tuesday.
Match odds – Draw 12/5
This is a very difficult one to call. Wolfsburg’s home form will make it difficult for United to break them down, however the Red Devils have become accustomed to finding a result at the most vital of times during recent years. I would recommend backing odds of 12/5 for the draw as both sides will find it difficult to gain the upper hand in what promises to be a tense and exciting affair. A Wolfsburg win is unlikely in my opinion, but odds of 11/8 are available for the home side to seal top spot in the group, whereas you can bag odds of 21/10 for Manchester United to pull off a remarkable victory and maintain their position in the Champions League, at least for another round.
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.