Ten Hag explains Varane inclusion

Tuesday 12 December 2023 18:45

Erik ten Hag has named his Manchester United team to tackle Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

The Reds must win our final Group A game and hope the other fixture, between FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray, ends in a draw, in order to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

Any victory would guarantee a place in Europe after the turn of the year, as we would then finish at least third in the table, and go into the Europa League.

Raphael Varane makes his first start since the 1-0 win over Copenhagen in this competition, in October, as he partners Harry Maguire in defence. Victor Lindelof is still out and Luke Shaw moves to left-back, in place of Sergio Reguilon.  

"You see the squad and we need strong defending today," explained Ten Hag to TNT Sports. "He’s very experienced and, together with Harry, they’ll be playing in the centre-half positions. And as I say, especially against Bayern, we need to defend very strongly, and as we all know, he’s a very good defender."

Unfortunately, forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are unwell and absent, after missing training on Monday due to illness.

Rasmus Hojlund leads the line, looking to add to his tally of five goals in the Champions League this term. Young striker Joe Hugill is among the substitutes.

"You need a strong squad and it limits your opportunities from the bench with those players not available, either in or on the bench," added the boss. 

"Especially against Bayern, you have to give a lot of effort and need subs, but the others have to do it – that’s what it is."

Harry Kane is up front for a full-strength Bayern side, that also includes former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.


United: Onana; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Amrabat; Antony, Fernandes (c), Garnacho; Hojlund.

Substitutes: Bayindir, Heaton, Evans, Reguilon, Wan-Bissaka, Gore, Hannibal, Mainoo, Pellistri, Hugill.

Bayern Munich: Neuer; Mazraoui, Upamecano, Kim, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Coman, Musiala, Sane; Kane.

Substitutes: Peretz, Guerreiro, Laimer, Kratzig, Pavlovic, Choupo-Mouting, Muller, Tel.