Midtjylland v Manchester United preview: Wayne Rooney missing for visitors
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 18/02/16 5:10pm
Manchester United travel to Denmark to take on FC Midtjylland in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League without Wayne Rooney.
The United and England skipper did not make the trip with manager Louis van Gaal confirming that the striker has been ruled out with a knee injury in his pre-match press conference.
United find themselves in the Europa League having failed to qualify from their Champions League group, finishing third behind Wolfsburg and PSV Eindhoven.
It is the club's first appearance in the competition since 2012 when they again joined at the last-32 stage after exiting the Champions League but after a 3-2 aggregate win over Ajax, Sir Alex Ferguson's side were beaten home and away by Athletic Bilbao as they went out in the round of 16.
Midtylland, meanwhile, have already tasted success over an English side this season. They beat Southampton over two legs to reach the Europa League group stage. They have struggled of late though, winning just one of their last nine games in all competitions, although their last competitive game was in December.
The hosts are without midfielder Jakob Poulsen who is suspended, while goalkeeper Johan Dahlin (knee) is a long-term absentee and remains out. Petter Andersson (knee) is also a doubt.
As well as Rooney, United are also without full-back Matteo Darmian after he dislocated his shoulder in their defeat to Sunderland on Saturday, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (illness) and Marouane Fellaini, who did not travel.
Adnan Januzaj is cup-tied having played in the competition for Borussia Dortmund earlier this season but youngsters Donald Love, Will Keane, Regan Poole, Joe Riley and James Weir are all included in the squad.
Midtjylland have played English opposition twice before in Europe, both in qualifiers. They knocked out Southampton to make the competition proper this season, but were dumped out of UEFA Cup qualifying by Man City in 2008/09.
Manchester United have won four of their previous six matches against Danish opposition (D1 L1).
The Red Devils' three previous trips to Denmark have all been in the Champions League. They beat Brondby 6-2 on their way to lifting the European Cup in 1998/99, lost 1-0 to FC Copenhagen in 2006/07 and defeated Aalborg 3-0 in their most recent visit.
This is the third Europa League season in a row a Danish team has made the last 32 (Esbjerg in 2013/14, Aalborg in 2014/15) but both fell at this hurdle.
The Red Devils have kept two clean sheets in their last 13 away games in Europe, excluding qualifiers.
The Danes conceded 12 times in the group stage, more than any other side to make the knockout round (not including Champions League qualifiers).
Manchester United are just 8/13 with Sky Bet to take a lead back to Old Trafford, with FC Midtjylland up against odds of 19/4 for the victory, while the draw is priced at 14/5.
United are currently rated 11/1 third favourites to win the Europa League, vastly shorter than their hosts, who are handed the joint longest odds of those left in the competition at 250/1.
Anthony Martial heads the first goalscorer betting at 9/2 in Wayne Rooney's absence, while Martin Pusic and Vaclav Kadlec are considered the hosts' main threats at 17/2 apiece to net first.