Revealed: Your preferred Champions League opponents
All this week, we’ve been asking Official App users which of the seven teams they’d most like to face from Pot One in this season’s Champions League.
United will be up against one of holders Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, Porto, Real Madrid, Sevilla or Zenit St Petersburg when the group-stage draw is made in Athens on 1 October.
The Reds are unable to face the other top seed, Liverpool, due to UEFA restrictions on sides from the same country playing each other.
After 77,000 votes were cast across the week - more than an Old Trafford attendance - we can now reveal that Russian champions Zenit are your preferred opponent, with the 2008 UEFA Cup winners receiving 29 per cent of the vote in our poll.
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Zenit, the club from Russia’s second city, have the lowest UEFA coefficient of this season’s top-eight ranked teams, but they are one of few sides to have a 100 per cent record against United.
The Lions emerged victorious in our only previous meeting, in Monaco for the 2008 UEFA Super Cup, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny either side of half-time.
Nemanja Vidic halved the arrears 20 minutes from time, but Sir Alex Ferguson's Reds couldn’t get back into the game and Paul Scholes was sent off late on for two yellow cards – the second for handball as he desperately attempted to force the ball home.
The sides haven’t crossed paths since, although Zenit’s domestic rivals CSKA Moscow have become a familiar foe for United in recent years, having been drawn in our group in 2009/10, 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Zenit, who came bottom of a group containing eventual semi-finalists Red Bull Leipzig and Lyon in 2019/20, have some familiar names in their ranks, with Dejan Lovren having recently joined from Liverpool and former Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov still going strong at 37.
Russia’s goalscoring hero from the last World Cup, Artem Dzyuba, is club captain, while Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun has already plundered four goals in four games during the nascent Russian Premier League season, after his 17 goals last term helped Sergei Semak’s side clinch a second successive title in July.
A more recent rival came second in our vote, with Europa League winners Sevilla gleaning 16 per cent in the poll.
The fearsome Bayern Munich, who are currently on a 21-match winning streak in all competitions, came joint-third on 15 per cent, alongside Porto, who we last played in 2009.
According to the poll results, the side you’d least like us to be drawn against is Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 outfit are, of course, represented by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, but also by ex-Reds in Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera.
POLL RESULTS IN FULL
Which team from Pot One would you most like United to face?
29 per cent = Zenit St Petersburg
16 per cent = Sevilla
15 per cent = Bayern Munich
15 per cent = Porto
10 per cent = Real Madrid
9 per cent = Juventus
6 per cent = Paris Saint-Germain
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