Lukaku's fond memories and other talking points as Man United face Young Boys

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Manchester United begin their Champions League campaign with a trip to Young Boys on Wednesday night.

The Swiss champions are making their debut in the competition but will pose a significant threat for the Premier League giants on home turf.

Here’s a look at some key talking points ahead of the encounter.

CONTRASTING DOMESTIC STARTS

A disappointing summer transfer window followed by some incendiary comments from Jose Mourinho was hardly ideal preparation for United’s new season. Having suffered two defeats in the opening three games, both club and coach descended into crisis mode with speculation over Paul Pogba’s future only adding fuel to the fire.

With consecutive away victories either side of the international break, Mourinho is working towards restoring a semblance of order but the respite his team currently enjoys feels like it’s being balanced on a knife’s edge. A defeat in their Champions League opener would no doubt put the pressure right back on the Red Devils.

On the other hand, the domestic fortunes of their opponents couldn’t be more different. Young Boys have started their Swiss League campaign like a house on fire, winning nine of their 10 games so far and boasting a an eight-point lead at the top of the table.

While their extra-time excursions in the Swiss Cup may have left them a bit jaded ahead of this clash, the fact they ended it with a dramatic winner against FC Schaffhausen will only add to the feel-good atmosphere around the squad – one United would be envious of.

Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho.

LUKAKU’S SWEET SWISS MEMORIES

There are suggestions this game could be an opportunity to rest Romelu Lukaku with more testing European and challenges ahead. However, Mourinho traditionally prefers to secure early group stage wins and rarely rested the Belgian last season who remains pivotal to United’s attack.

Having returned late from the World Cup, Lukaku has started to find his feet in the last couple of league games and has four goals to his name already this season. A trip to Switzerland, and Bern in particular, will evoke pleasant memories for the striker.

The last time Young Boys faced Premier League opposition was in February 2015 when they were defeated 4-1 at home to Everton in the last 32 of the Europa League. The chief destroyer on that occasion? Hat-trick hero Romelu Lukaku.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

UNITED’S YOUNG BOYS

Young Boys boast an average squad age of just 24.44 years old while United’s is 26.62. However, United should feature their fair share of youth in this encounter as well.

Given his domestic suspension and goalscoring exploits with England during the international break, Marcus Rashford is almost certain to land a starting berth.

Meanwhile, Mourinho confirmed in the aftermath of the victory over Watford at the weekend that Luke Shaw will return to action on Wednesday night.

It’s the opposite flank which could see a new face though with summer signing Diogo Dalot rumoured to be set for his debut. Antonio Valencia has been confirmed as an absentee for the clash as the Stade de Suisse’s artificial pitch is unsuitable for the full-back’s knees, strengthening his chances of a first United senior appearance.

The 19-year-old played the full 90 minutes for the Under-23s against Reading last Friday and seems to have recovered from his own knee injury.

Luke Shaw could return

Luke Shaw could return

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