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What you need to know about our Champions League group

Shakhtar Donetsk
Last season they finished top of the Ukrainian Premier League, 13 points clear of Metalist Kharkiv.

Their Armenian striker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, was the league’s top scorer with 25 goals. He has since been sold to Borussia Dortmund for £21.5m.

Their manager is Mircea Lucescu, who has previously managed Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Besiktas. He became the Shakhtar Donetsk manager in 2004, and has won the title 7 out of the 8 seasons he’s been there. He’s also won 5 Ukranian Cups, 5 Ukranian Super Cups, and the UEFA Cup in 2009 after beating Werder Bremen in the final.

Bayer Leverkusen

Last season they finished 3rd in the Bundesliga, 26 points behind champions Bayern Munich.

Their German striker, Stefan Kießling, was the league’s top scorer, ahead of Robert Lewandowski, with 25 goals.

Their manager is former Liverpool player Sami Hyypiä who was promoted last season after joining the club as a player in 2009. He shares the responsibility with their form U-19 manager under-19 coach Sascha Lewandowski. Lewandowski is responsible for the press conferences after the match and takes care of the training sessions. Hyypiä watches them, intervenes with personal talks, is at the pre-game press conference, and addresses the team last before the match.

Real Sociedad

Last season they finished 4th in La Liga, 34 points behind champions Barcelona.

Mexican striker, Carlos Vela (who they had just signed from Arsenal, was their top scorer with 14 goals, and was the league’s 9th highest scorer.

Their manager is Jagoba Arrasate who joined the club as youth team manager in 2010. He was promoted to assistant in 2012 and was made manager at the start of this season. Their former manager, Philippe Montanier, opted not to renew his contract at the end of the last season and has since been appointed as manager of Rennes.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Maltamanc says:

    Samuel – really hope so, we need a couple of signings… Our current squad is good, however I think we may suffer in the long run as the season rolls by with injuries and all.

  2. wayne says:

    Samuel you keep quoting 25 mill want to post the link that Utd are prepared to pay 25 mill for Baines,thanks mate appreciate that

  3. Wee Toms Ligaments says:

    I think Evra could use a little competition. Yes last year was a better year for him. But honestly, Fabio and Buttner are not ready to play solid minutes. They present a good shout when playingthe relegation fodder and the League Cup – once United gets past liverpool – but come on. To say that Baines is not as good as Evra is a little red tinted.

  4. wayne says:

    Maltamanc you addressed me then didn’t answer my question,so I’ll try and figure it out Firstly I just love the way you lads just pick figures out of the air you quoting 20 mill,samuel 25 mill,were are you getting these numbers from and how does the price effect whether the player would be a good signing or not?.Also what has signing Baines got anything to do with Utd signing a CM.Now to your thrid point you don’t want Baines because he has no CL expereince but you’d be quiet happy with Buttner if Evra got injured?????

  5. MAN to the UNITED says:

    Im loving the fact that Barcelona, Madrid and Shity probably have the hardest groups!!!
    Cant wait for the CL to start, its going to be an interesting year but i dont think we will struggle to much in the groups.
    If we sign a midfielder or 2 then i think we will have a good chance.

    Manchester United vs Juventus first game of the knock out stages. You heard it here first!!!

    COMMON UNITED!!!!!!!

  6. evered7 says:

    Anything to make of this story?

    It would be great if we can bring him in. RM really do sell most of their stars for cheap when they are unwanted.

    It would be a gamble, but if it worked, would be the best of the decade.

  7. Marq says:

    Hahahaha, Everton wants 25m for Baines? The caught the Bale Flu I suppose. If Chelsea rated Rooney at 25m, Baines is a 10m player max

    Not really a fan of these players, but I say 36m for Fellaini and Baines is about the max price. Anything more, ask them to get lost. I’d take my chances with Powell, Januzaj and Fabio.

  8. wayne says:

    I’m also guilty of deciding what a player is worth I think we all are but I’ve come to realize nothing can be determined until the player has been signed and has shown if he makes a difference or not

  9. Proverb says:

    As far as I know baines is better than evra
    Our tactics require we have a powerhouse leftback to do both the crossing whilst keeping check of the defensive duties, evra just fades. As seen against chelsea he’s not good enough.

  10. Proverb says:

    The saying stating everton asking £25m is not realistic. He’s a £18/17m at best, can’t see us paying more than that to be frank. everton will sell, but its only fair they are holding out for a few more quids for their best players however, I’m a deal at the range of £20/15m will reached.

  11. Proverb says:


  12. Proverb says:

    The saying stating everton have asked £25m is not
    realistic. He’s a £18/17m at best, can’t see us
    paying more than that to be frank. everton will
    sell, but its only fair they are holding out for a
    few more quids for their best players, however
    I’m sure a deal at the range of £20/15m will be reached.

  13. nambuktu says:

    So that Lewandowski chap turned clubs down to be joint manager at Leverkusen huh? ;P A good draw for me. Can’t wait!

  14. Proverb says:

    Fellaini ok, this guy is what?
    I’m still not sure what his position is.

    Well…. as AM does a job but doubts still stands, is he a great defensive midfielder? History has taught us that anything else than a roaming or/ energetic, mobile defensive mid is not gonna be an upgrade, and is certainly not what we need, neither has ever been fans favorite. Passing at stationary means you’ll either pass it short or sideways/backwards. making ground for yourself to find that telling pass is vital, with some skills going wouldn’t hurt. Clevz has nicked his place so far in first team solely for possessing this two qualities, I.e ball retention, energy. But if he could add goals and assists would make us forget about ever trying to buy fellaini.
    I don’t currently have a player in mind to slot in quite well although I’m one for the opinion we should give powell a go, he’s not yet defensively sound but I do believe he has all the qualities to become just that, he’s strong, skillful, he has a great shot in him, can pass with precision. Its time we looked from within aren’t it? Okay moyes still needs to gains fans trust before he can start taking risks fair enough, but a try wouldn’t hurt.

  15. Marq says:

    The joke is Martinez saying the grass is not always greener elsewhere

    You say that when moving across to other champions, not when it is a step up

  16. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Not red tinted at all, Evra is 32 and baines is 29, the level baines currently plays, his absolute prime was the level evra was at age 26-29 and he was the best left back in the world and he actually regularly got tested at the highest level (champions league). Baines is a very good PL player and perhaps the best attacking one due to evra and cole winding down but I can’t see him reaching the levels these two have played at for years. 25mill, where’s the justification for paying that for a full-back? Are we getting david alaba of bayern munich? Because at 21 and being world class, you could shell out such fees, a worthy replacement for evra. Everton are trying to scrape every penny out of the hype around baines, at best he is nothing above 10mill. The extra pounds on him must be his set pieces and penalty taking, none of which he’ll be taking at united, so why is baines worth that much?

  17. dazbomber says:

    If we sign Baines RvP will add 10 goals to his tally from crasses of Baines. There is no better crosser of the ball than him.

  18. samuel - united WE stand says:

    What, is the club paying 25mill for a good crosser?

  19. Traffordium says:

    Everton are sick if they really are asking for 50m for the duo.Herreira,kaka…enough depth and w’ere off.PS:Woody should just pay the freakin herreira clause.

  20. Nesh says:

    I dont like Bayer Leverkusen they always remind me of oliver neuville that lad broke my heart back then…

  21. Hiitsme says:

    Kaka wants to leave, and before anyone says he is a CAM a la shinji and rooney, a classy player like him can eaaasily play wings as well as the cleverely role. MOYES SIGN HIM UP!

  22. Marq says:

    “If we sign Baines RvP will add 10 goals to his tally from crasses of Baines. There is no better crosser of the ball than him”

    Seriously? I mean seriously? You buy a defender to do the crossing? Let’s buy wingers to do tackling next

  23. Sam says:

    If we get Fellaini and Baines, teams in the league would find it very hard to beat us. The squad will be very strong with no discernible weakness. And If we keep De gea, Vidic, Carrick and Van Persie fit with the others playing well consistently – think we’ll be right up there.

    Having two top leftbacks would be great for competition and judging by the first two games, looks as if Moyes is trying to get the fullbacks playing in a different way to what we are used to – Evra has been trying to get into crossing positions more often than drifting closer to the box to provide better penetration; Baines is well versed playing this role and with him on the overlap, our forwards would get a lot of opportunities from the left wing. Fabio and Rafael should ideally be competing for the right back slot.

  24. Sam says:

    United have so much options in attack and we need to be set up so that they can express themselves fully. Anyone of Welbeck, Hernandez, Rooney and Van Persie would probably walk into Chelsea’s starting line up, that’s how strong we are.

  25. dazbomber says:

    Marq-Thats todays football.

  26. roboo7 says:

    Il play baines on the wing best crosser in the prem and gives cover for evra when he goes to far hes better than young when nani is fit play him on the right. Kaka can play in cm doesnt need to play behind the striker thats the sort of player kaka is.

  27. Costas says:

    @Marq at 8:33

    We already have Valencia and Young for that, lol.


    Just waiting for confirmation on the club’s behalf. Honestly, it would be an unexpected, albeit great, twist if Nani in fact signed a new deal. Many people take positives from the Chelsea game but as far as I am concerned, it also exposed the lack of creativity we have from the wings these days. Nani and Zaha are our 2 best options in that regard and the sooner they start playing, the better.

  28. Wakey says:

    To trigger a clause you don’t have to offer the full amount. For example we trigger Bebe’s clause while only paying £4mill as the other £3mil was performance related (none of which has bee triggered I believe)

    When the media talk about transfers they are often selective in how they report the figures. Sometimes they just use the upfront fee other times the maximum the fee could be. There’s also a tax issue that can often arise so maybe it he fee is without the tax we might have to pay.

    Either way even if the total package doesn’t match the buyout we shouldn’t be wanting the club just to meet the buyout because its more than jsut a few million. It has knock own effects in years to come, you have to come up with a range you value a player for and you start lower and you don’t go above your top value.

  29. The One says:

    liverpool – says a whole lot about them as a club and how far they have degenerated; small-minded, small-time club, what a disgrace to themselves!! The late Bill Shankly, the only guy I have some respect for, will be stirring in his grave!!!!!

    Just what were they thinking of when they did that – mind you, it’s their official twitter site and not a fans’ site….mind boggling to say the least, absolutely disgraceful!!!!!

  30. red_ash says:

    I think moyes should get scholes out of retirement again. This can be the only feasible major addition to the squad.

    If I was a big player I would love to sign for Man Utd but not for Man Utd managed by a set of loonies.

  31. DreadedRed says:


    If you were a ‘big player’, you wouldn’t be managing Man Utd, so that’s one loony out the way.


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