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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Manchester United should avoid another Alpine mishap

Young Boys can keep it close

Man United's Anthony Martial (left) and Romelu Lukaku
1 of 1

Group H
BT Sport 2, 8pm Wednesday

Manchester United's last two Champions League nights in Switzerland have ended in defeat but they should be good enough to avoid a hat-trick of Alpine mishaps when they visit Bern.

Both of those United losses were at Basel, the most recent coming in last term’s group phase, although it didn't prove pivotal as the Red Devils still went on to top their section.

Where Basel once stood now it’s Young Boys, Swiss champions for the first time since 1986 and poised for their group-stage debut after seeing off Dinamo Zagreb 3-2 on aggregate in the playoff round.

They’ll be buzzing and well aware that if they are to have any hope of making any sort of a noise in a Group H campaign also featuring Juventus and Valencia, they need to pick up points at their Stade de Suisse base.

Many people will, however, regard United as bankers for their first foreign assignment of the season, although their odds are short enough.

Young Boys are clearly a decent outfit. Gerardo Seoane’s men are top of the league with six wins out of six and they’re unbeaten in ten in all competitions.

That said, this is a far sterner test than anything they have come across yet in 2018-19 and backing United to find the net within the first 41 minutes looks a sound bet. It is a feat they have achieved in four of their five fixtures this term, including all three of their away games.

And it’s highly likely that a better side than Zagreb would have ousted Young Boys in the playoff round. The Swiss were poor for large portions of the tie, only coming to life in the second 45 minutes of the second leg when former Paris St-Germain and France frontman Guillaume Hoarau bagged two in as many minutes. The 34-year-old is their top scorer this term with seven.

To add weight to the argument for advised bet, they conceded in the first half of both ties against the Croatian side.

They won’t come up against a striker like Romelu Lukaku very often, though they have faced him before. That was in the 2014-15 Europa League, a two-legged tie against Everton which the Toffees won 7-2 on aggregate with Lukaku scoring five. Veteran Swiss stopper Steve von Bergen can expect the ultimate workout.

Lukaku is 5-4 to score at any time but Marcus Rashford, fresh and raring to go after sitting out Sunday's Watford win, appeals more at 21-10.

Rashford's pace will terrify a Young Boys backline also featuring Newcastle discard Kevin Mbabu, and he’s in top nick having bagged twice for England this month, one of which was against Switzerland.

United have won successive away games but were hanging on at the end against Watford. They don’t look like giving anyone a hiding at present and if they do win this game, it will probably be by a narrow margin.

Manchester United to score before the 41st minute
2pts 5-6 bet365
Man United to win by one goal
1pt 13-5 bet365, BoyleSports

Bet on this match at

Team news
Young Boys
Teenage right-back Jordan Lotomba, a regular starter last season, and midfielder Sandro Lauper are injured.

Manchester United
Luke Shaw has recovered from concussion. Marouane Fellaini, who had been a doubt at Watford, could be rested. Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are injured.

Key stat
United have lost only three of their last 20 away games in Europe.

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United have lost only three of their last 20 away games in Europe
E.W. Terms
Sky bet