Erik ten Hag’s side head into Matchday 4 aiming to overcome their poor start and improve their prospects of making the Champions League’s last 16. We look ahead with our data-powered FC Copenhagen vs Manchester United prediction and preview.
FC Copenhagen vs Manchester United: The Quick Hits
- Manchester United (50.6%) are predicted to make it back-to-back victories in the UEFA Champions League at FC Copenhagen (24.7%) according to the Opta supercomputer.
- Man Utd have only won one of their last seven away games in the Champions League (two draws, four defeats), with that one victory coming at Villarreal in November 2021 under caretaker boss Michael Carrick.
- Copenhagen are without a win in their last nine Champions League matches (four draws, five losses).
Manchester United will look to give their chances of making it into the Champions League last 16 a big boost when they take on FC Copenhagen at Parken on Wednesday.
United went into their Matchday 3 home game against Copenhagen propping up Group A after two straight defeats, but a nervy 1-0 victory at Old Trafford, which saw Harry Maguire nod in the eventual winner and André Onana save a penalty in the dying seconds to secure the three points, reignited the Red Devils’ hopes of progression.
Copenhagen had 16 shots in that game, their most ever in a Champions League away match. The most attempts they have had against a side across both meetings in a single campaign is 29, against Borussia Dortmund last season, and Jacob Neestrup’s men could break that record on Wednesday, hopefully with a better result this time to enhance their own chances of qualifying. They are currently bottom of the table with one point from three matches.
Man Utd now sit third, one point behind second-placed Galatasaray, and a win on Wednesday could see them leapfrog the Turkish side ahead of their potentially crucial match-up at RAMS Park on MD 5.
United lost their first Champions League away game under Erik ten Hag, going down 4-3 away at Bayern Munich, but the Dutch manager has never previously lost consecutive away matches in the competition. In fact, he’s already lost as many Champions League away games in charge of United (one) as he did in 16 in charge of previous club Ajax (10 wins, 5 draws, 1 defeat).
Copenhagen, meanwhile, are winless in their last six home games in the Champions League, although five of those matches have ended in draws (L1). Indeed, only five combined goals have been scored across these six matches (two for, three against), with four of them ending 0-0.
The Danish side may have lost their last two Champions League games, but they have never lost three straight in the competition before, and Ten Hag has real selection worries heading into Wednesday’s clash.
As for team news, aside from the long-term absences of Lisandro Martínez, Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw, both Victor Lindelöf and Marcus Rashford were missing from the lineup for the 1-0 win over Fulham at the weekend. The former was out with illness, while the latter failed a fitness test before kick-off following criticism for celebrating his birthday hours after United had been thumped 3-0 at home to rivals Manchester City the previous weekend.
Lindelöf and Rashford are both doubts but should play at least some part, while Jadon Sancho continues to be frozen out after a public spat with Ten Hag saw him suspended from the first-team squad in September. Casemiro is also unavailable after picking up a strain that will keep him out for several weeks. Antony was in the team at the weekend but after a poor performance he could drop out again.
Rashford hasn’t scored in any of his last seven appearances for United in the Champions League, with his last strike coming in October 2021 against Atalanta. If he is fit enough to play and fails to find the net on Wednesday, it will be his longest run of appearances without scoring in the competition (also a run of seven between February-November 2018).
For Neestrup, it’s unclear whether he will have striker Andreas Cornelius available for selection after going off at half-time in the 4-2 league win over Randers at the weekend, while Mohamed Elyounoussi is also doubtful for Wednesday’s game. William Clem, Davit Khocholava and Birger Meling are all out injured.
FC Copenhagen vs Manchester United Head-to-Head
Copenhagen’s first ever Champions League victory was a 1-0 home win against Manchester United on MD 4 in the 2006-07 edition, though they are winless in their last 10 games against English sides in European competition, failing to score in their last eight such games.
United, meanwhile, have won seven of their 10 meetings with Danish sides in all European competition (one draw, two losses), though both defeats have come in their last three such away games.
Man Utd’s 1-0 win over Copenhagen on MD 3 ended a run of five Champions League games without a victory and was their first clean sheet in the competition since November 2021, preserved by Onana’s vital penalty save in the 97th minute.
Copenhagen’s defeat at Old Trafford was the only one in their last five outings, winning the other four games and triumphing in their last three matches on home soil in all competitions.
Bruno Fernandes scored a 91st-minute winner as United beat Fuham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, a much-needed result considering Ten Hag’s side came into the match off back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Man City and Newcastle United in the Premier League and EFL Cup, respectively.
United have faced a penalty in all three of their Champions League matches this season and could become the first team on record (2003-04 onwards) to give away a penalty in each of their opening four matches in a campaign.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
FC Copenhagen vs Manchester United Prediction
Manchester United are the favourites to win on Wednesday and potentially move themselves up to second place in Group A according to the Opta supercomputer. Across 10,000 pre-match simulations, the visitors were victorious 50.6% of the time.
Copenhagen’s chances of ending their nine-game winless Champions League run are rated at 24.7%, while the teams share the spoils in 24.7% of simulations.
United’s difficult start to their Champions League campaign has seen their chances of winning the competition drop to 0.7% from the pre-tournament prediction of 4.4%. That fall in probability is the joint-biggest of any team in this season’s competition. The supercomputer suggests Man Utd could well crash out at the Champions League group stage, qualifying in just 46.2% of simulations, compared to 99.9% for Bayern Munich and 46.9% for Galatasaray. Copenhagen are also expected to miss out, reaching the last 16 only 6.9% of the time.
FC Copenhagen vs Manchester United UCL Squads
FC Copenhagen: Kamil Grabara, Kevin Diks, Denis Vavro, David Khocholava, Christian Sorensen, Viktor Claesson, Mateo Tanlongo, Diogo Goncalves, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Jordan Larsson, Lukas Lerager, Khouma Babacar, Orri Oskarsson, Elias Jelert, Nicolai Boilesen, Theo Sander, Peter Ankersen, Valdemar Lund, Elias Achouri, Rasmus Falk, Oscar Højlund, Roony Bardghji, Andreas Dithmer.
Head Coach: Jacob Neestrup
Manchester United: Altay Bayındır, Tom Heaton, André Onana, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martínez, Tyrell Malacia, Sergio Reguilón, Raphaël Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jonny Evans, Sofyan Amrabat, Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Højlund, Antony.
Head Coach: Erik ten Hag