United v Astana: Your essential match guide
Manchester United embark on a new Europa League campaign on Thursday night, as the Reds host Kazakhstan Premier League champions FC Astana at Old Trafford (20:00 BST).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will hope to repeat the success we had the last time we participated in the competition, back in 2016/17, when we beat Ajax to win the title at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. But first we have to get out of a group that also includes AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade.
Ahead of Thursday's kick-off, here is everything you need to know...
MUTV subscribers will be able to watch an extensive build-up to the game via the channel's Match Day show from 18:30 BST, followed by comprehensive live radio commentary. You can also follow our coverage on ManUtd.com and the Official App, where you can track live data and player statistics in the Match Centre.
HOW CAN I GET TICKETS?
All supporters can buy tickets for our UEFA Europa League home games against FC Astana, FK Partizan and AZ Alkmaar by visiting manutd.com/tickets or calling 0161 868 8000. Members save £5 per seat.
WHICH UK TV CHANNEL IS IT ON?
Thursday's match will be shown in the UK on BT Sport, with kick-off at 20:00 BST. As always, the match will be shown in full on MUTV from the following day.
WHAT'S THE TEAM NEWS?
Solskjaer could be without first-team regulars Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial for Thursday's game.
Pogba was recently forced to withdraw from international duty through injury, while the boss has said that Shaw and Martial are unlikely to be fit in time to face Astana. Lingard missed our Premier League fixture against Leicester City on Saturday, reportedly due to illness.
Ole may provide an update on team news during his pre-match press conference, which is scheduled to take place at 13:00 BST on Wednesday. You can watch it live in our Official App.
Founded in 2009 as Lokomotiv Astana, the Kazakhstan side have taken the top division by storm in their first decade of existence.
Based in the capital city now known as Nur-Sultan, the Blue and Yellows have won the last five Premier League titles. They also have had a reasonable footing in European football, reaching the group stages of the Champions League in 2015/16 - and holding eventual finalists Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw - before qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League in 2017/18.
Astana's domestic campaign began in March and they currently sit third in the league table, five points off the top but with two games in hand owing to their continental exploits.
Thursday's visitors play their fixtures at the Astana Arena and the Reds will travel there for our penultimate group stage game on 28 November. Astana have never faced English opposition before, but they have come up against Celtic on two occasions. The Hoops eliminated the Blue and Yellows from the Champions League qualifiers in 2016 and 2017, with several members of Astana's current squad featuring in both games.
ONES TO WATCH
Marin Tomasov has been the main threat for Roman Hryhorchuk's side this campaign. The 32-year-old former Croatian international has scored 19 goals since the domestic season began in March, including seven in the qualifying stages for this competition.
Defender Antonio Rukavina is one of the most experienced members of the Blue and Yellows. The 35-year-old Serbian played under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund from 2008 to 2009, and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2016 with previous club Villarreal. Forward Roman Murtazayev, who can play anywhere across the attack, could also prove dangerous. The Kazakhstani international has netted 10 goals in all competitions this season, which is his best return since joining from Irtysh Pavlodar in 2016.
WHO'S THE REFEREE?
The officials for our first Europa League match of the campaign will be announced on Wednesday. VAR will not be in operation in the competition this season, with it only being used during the final in Gdansk next May.
Two fellow Premier League sides will be in Europa League action on Thursday, as Wolverhampton Wanderers host Braga at Molineux while Arsenal face an away trip to Eintracht Frankfurt. You can see the full list of fixtures for the first matchweek below:
THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER
CFR Cluj v Lazio
LASK v Rosenborg
Getafe CF v Trabzonspor
PSV Eindhoven v Sporting
FC Basel v FC Krasnodar
Apoel Nicosia v Dudelange
Copenhagen v Lugano
Standard Liege v Vitoria SC
Qarabag v Sevilla
Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal
Rennes v Celtic
Dynamo Kiev v Malmo
Wolfsburg v Oleksandriya
Espanyol v Ferencvaros
Rangers v Feyenoord
Porto v Young Boys
Slovan Bratislava v Besiktas
Borussia Monchengladbach v Wolfsberg
Partizan Belgrade v AZ Alkmaar
Roma v Istanbul Basaksehir
Gent v St Etienne
MANCHESTER UNITED v Astana
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Braga
Ludogorets v CSKA Moscow
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