FC Midtjylland - Manchester United preview: Reds begin quest for Europa League glory

Full match preview of FC Midtjylland vs Manchester United in the Europa League last 32 first leg

FC Midtjylland - Manchester United preview: Reds begin quest for Europa League glory
Picture source: Getty Images

Manchester United begin their quest to try and win the Europa League on Thursday night with the first leg of their round of 32 tie away to FC Midtjylland at the MCH Arena in Denmark.

United and Louis van Gaal are set to take the competition very seriously as it is likely to be United's best chance to get into the Champions League next season. United sit fifth in the Premier League after the defeat at the weekend to Sunderland, a defeat which leaves them six points of the top-four.

United will face Midtjylland for the first time ever

United face Midtjylland for the first time ever, but know that it will not be an easy tie after seeing that the Danish side knocked out Southampton in the qualifiers for the Europa League last summer 2-1 over two legs.

Midtjylland were only formed as a club in 1999 as a merger between local sides Ikast and Herning Fremad. This will be the Danish side's biggest game in their history, and they will want to show their fans that they can go toe-to-toe with United. Midtjylland have not played a competitive game since December 10th as the Danish League is still on its winter break. Midtjylland though sit third in the Superliga table so it will not be an easy tie for United, and they will need to be up for the match. 

Midtjylland qualified for the round of 32 after drawing 1-1 to Club Brugge in their last game in the group stages, while United have dropped down from the Champions League after an early exit from the group stages. The Europa League looks like it is going to be a tough competition to win this year with a lot of tough teams still left in it. The extra incentive for the teams though is knowing that the prize for the winner is a place in the Champions League. The final of the Europa League is set to be held in Basel.

Team News

Manchester United

United go into the game with 12 players missing either through injury or illness. These injuries include Luke Shaw (broken leg), Antonio Valencia (foot), Marcos Rojo(shoulder) and Ashley Young(groin).

Bastian Schweinsteiger is also still missing with a knee injury he picked up last month, while Adnan Januzaj, Phil Jones and Guillermo Varela are all still out after picking up injuries during United's u21s win last week. 

Matteo Darmian is out for several weeks after suffering a dislocated shoulder against Sunderland at the weekend, while captain Wayne Rooney has been ruled out after injuring knee ligaments against Sunderland and is set to be out for six weeks.

Marouane Fellaini - who missed United's defeat at the weekend - has a muscle injury and is set to be out for a period of time. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson will also miss the game through illness.

FC Midtjylland 

Midtjylland go into the game with a couple of players missing such as midfielder Jakob Poulsen who is suspended and fellow midfielder Petter Andersson is a doubt for the game while goalkeeper Johan Dahlin is also out of the game.

The danger man for Midtjylland is Pione Sisto, who is an attacking midfielder for the Danish club. Sisto is a skilful and athletic 20-year-old who is said to be like Tottenham's Christian Eriksen. Sisto scored eight goals in the 2014/14 season which saw the youngster make his senior international debut for Albania in September last year.

Manchester United's 18-man squad for the Midtjylland game 

De Gea, Romero, Love, McNair, Smalling, Blind, Poole, Riley, Carrick, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Lingard, Pereira, Weir, Mata, Memphis, Martial, Keane.

FC Midtjylland will host Manchester United at the MCH Arena on Thursday, February 18th with kick-off at 6.00PM BST.