Betting Match Preview: Manchester United v Wolfsburg (Champions League)

Manchester United v Wolfsburg, Champions League, September 30, 2009

Manchester United 1/3; Draw 3/1; Wolfsburg 7/1

For those who claim that Manchester United always receive the most favorable draws, this clash against the German champions should disprove that particular theory. Wolfsburg were in the bottom group of seeds having never played Champions League football before but they are the most likely team to finish second in Group B.

Wolfsburg may not be in the form they showed in the second half of last season to stun Germany and win the Bundesliga but they have enough attacking talent to cause problems for the United defence.

After winning the first two league games of the season, Wolfsburg lost to Hamburg, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen but appear to have found their form in recent weeks. Wins over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and Bundesliga victories over Schalke and Hannover have boosted confidence in new coach Armin Veh although they were on the receiving end of a shock DFB Pokal defeat to FC Koln last week.

This time last season not many football fans in Europe knew the names Edin Dzeko and Grafite, you can be sure that Sir Alex Ferguson will have his players well briefed on the twin goal threat.

Edin Dzeko was one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe in the summer and it will be a major surprise if the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker is still at the Volkswagen Arena next season. His record of 12 goals in 19 internationals also suggests he is most at ease at the highest level and could be a striker to put some money on for the World Cup Golden Shoe if Bosnia-Herzegovina make it to South Africa.

So far this season Grafite is slightly outscoring Dzeko, as he did last season. The Brazilian striker became only the sixth player to score a hat-trick on debut in the premier competition in Europe with his triple against CSKA Moscow on Matchday 1. After a sell selling bin-liners early in his career, Grafite is coming good late on and is an outside bet to be included in Dunga’s World Cup squad.

Of course, if Dzeko or Grafite aren’t performing we may also see a return to Old Trafford for former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins. The Nigerian has struggled for minutes since arriving in Germany but knows how to score against United as he did in August 2008.

In truth though it may be worth Ferguson concentrating on the real heartbeat of the Wolfsburg side: playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic. The former Bayern Munich schemer set a new record for assists in the Bundesliga last season and his prompting and creativity in midfielder could undo even a side as good as United.

The Red Devils’ recent form suggests they should overcome an accomplished side such as Wolfsburg. The 1-0 win at Besiktas in the first group game was classic United in Europe and in recent years they seem to have the strength and purpose to overcome almost everyone in European competition.

Dimitar Berbatov will be hoping to add to his goal at the Britannia Stadium where Ryan Giggs again produced a master class with two assists after coming on as a substitute. Recent results in the Premier League suggest United are the team to beat domestically and this fixture may be a good time to assert their quality in Europe as they look to qualify for their third successive final appearance in the Champions League.

101gg predicts: Manchester United 3 – Wolfsburg 2 (33/1)

Manchester United 1/3; Draw 3/1; Wolfsburg 7/1

Full match odds here.