We’ve not played any of United’s Group B opponents before; get to know CSKA Moscow, Besiktas and Wolfsburg in our feature…
Matches Wednesday 21 October CSKA Moscow v United; Tuesday 3 November United v CSKA Moscow
Current form CSKA Moscow are halfway through their league season, currently third in the table behind second-placed Spartak Moscow and leaders Rubin Kazan – who make their Champions League debut in the same group as Barcelona and Inter. ‘The Army Men’ lifted the Russian Cup in May with victory over the current league leaders.
Home Ah, fond memories. The most exciting thing about this draw is the opportunity to make an early pilgrimage to the glorious Luzhniki Stadium, where John Terry lost his footing, Ryan Giggs kept his head and United lifted the European Cup for the third time. Just in time, too – next year the club will move into the brand new CSKA Moscow Stadium, currently under construction.
Manager Brazil legend Zico was nicknamed ‘The white Pele’ long before terrace songsmiths attributed it to Wayne Rooney. Pele modestly once said: “The one player that came closest to me was Zico.” His first job in management was as Japan’s head coach, leading them to the 2006 World Cup. He moved to Turkey to manage Fenerbahçe, delivering the league title in his first season, then led Fener to the Champions League group stages for the first time in their history, eventually losing to Chelsea in the quarters, albeit after a 2-1 first-leg win in Turkey. A strange spell with cash-rich FC Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan (now coached by Phil Scolari) followed before his move to Moscow this year.
Star man Like many Russian sides, CSKA boast a smattering of Brazilians. The most famous is flamboyant front man Vagner Love. Love's banged them in for CSKA for five years and despite repeated rumours he wants to move, he's still a Luzhniki fixture. He’s scored 61 goals in 118 appearances - the most famous the winner in the 2005 UEFA Cup final against Sporting Lisbon – in Lisbon. Last season he topped the Russian and UEFA scoring charts – netting 11 goals in European competition.
Matches Tuesday 15 September Besiktas JK v United; Wednesday 25 November United v Besiktas JK
Current form Often in the shadow of bigger city neighbours Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe (Spurs compared to Chelsea and Arsenal), the Black Eagles have the last laugh