VfL Wolfsburg - Manchester United Preview: Crunch time in Germany
Wolfsburg vs Man.Utd preview: Crunch time in Germany

Manchester United face judgement day in Europe on Tuesday night, as Louis Van Gaal takes his side to Germany to face VfL Wolfsburg, in their final Group B game in the Champions League.

United come into the game perched in second place in the table, one point behind their opponents in Lower Saxony. All three of Wolfsburg, United and PSV Eindhoven can still finish in top spot, with just one missing out and dropping down into the Europa League last 32.

As has become the norm in Europe's top competition, the calculations for progressing could get rather convoluted later in the evening.

Simply put however, if The Red Devils win they will progress and if PSV do also, Die Wölfe will finish third. If Wolfsburg win, United are out if PSV earn a point, at home to CSKA Moscow - who themselves can only qualify for the Europa League with a decent goal swing in Holland - courtesy of a better record versus the current Eredivisie champions. 

Louis van Gaal and his side are under growing pressure to turn to a more attacking approach. (Image credit: Getty)
Louis van Gaal and his side are under growing pressure to turn to a more attacking approach. (Image credit: Getty)

In all probability, if United do not win in Germany on Tuesday, they will be facing Thursday night football. 

Stakes are high at the VW Arena

For United, the stakes are high. On their return to the top dining table of European competition, failure to qualify for February's knock-out stages would be a huge blow to Van Gaal and the club. 

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, The United boss stated that his side need to 'show their European credentials' versus Wolfsburg.

Wolfsburg win will be a tough assignment  

That will be easier said than done however. The German side have scored four more goals this season than The Red Devils, including a 6-0 demolition of former Bundesliga giants Werder Bremen. They do though, come into this game on the back of a 1-2 defeat at home to Thomas Tuchel's Borussia Dortmund, this past weekend, in what has been a checkered campaign thus far, for Wolfsburg.

United themselves come into this fixture after a nervy goalless draw with West Ham United at Old Trafford on Saturday. Van Gaal's men have failed to score in half of their games in all competitions, in the last ten outings. In the Champions League this season, only five goals have been tallied for the visitors. 

United will be without key men 

If their task was tricky as it was, they will have to progress with Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin. Rooney is still nursing an ankle problem, whilst whilst the French midfielder is out with an injury, that forced him off at the weekend. It adds to Van Gaal's injury woes, with the quintet of Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw all out.

Max Kruse could hold the key to knocking out United. (Image credit: Getty)
Max Kruse could hold the key to knocking out United. (Image credit: Getty)

The Wolves have juggled their line-up of late, with Max Kruse leading the line. Daniel Caligiuri - who scored at Old Trafford earlier this season - has pushed into a right wing berth, next to Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle. Luis Gustavo may be a continued absence. If so Max Arnold will continue next to Josh Guilavogui. Dante returns from suspension in defence.

Manchester United will need to be at their best versus Wolfsburg to progress. That may all depend on Louis Van Gaal's starting XI. The Dutchman needs to pick the right men for the job. Who he sees that be, remains as ever, questionable.