Manchester United are all set to take on Club Brugge in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Play-Off at the Jan Breydel stadium on Wednesday, 26 August.
All eyes will be on the Red Devils tonight as to whether they can make it to the UEFA Champions League group stages. The Champions League draw will take place tomorrow (Thursday) in Monaco depending on tonight's result and United will be desperate to get back to some high quality European action after a season's gap.
United will be coming into the match with a two goal cushion. Memphis Depay stole the show in the first leg at the Old Trafford with two goals to his name and one assist in the stoppage time. United boss would be hoping that the young Dutch winger would come up with a similar performance.
Van Gaal said that this is one of the most crucial games in his 13-month tenure at the club. He was brought in to restore the lost glory and would be right behind his players when they take on the Belgian side in the second leg.
"It was last year our aim to participate in the Champions League and we're still not participating. It's the preliminary round, so it's very important. You have to play the game and at the end you have to have scored one more goal than the opponent. They have won also against Greek opponents with 3-0, so they are capable to do that and with the support of the fans, we have seen the fans in Manchester, so I think they shall support them a lot.
"First we have to beat Brugge and that's difficult enough. So let's wait and see if we are continuing in this Champions League, because that is the most important thing," Van Gaal told reporters ahead of their Wednesday's clash against Bruggge.
United so far have remained unbeaten in this season with three clean sheets out of four games they have played. Last week they drew with Newcastle United at St. James' Park and extended their unbeaten streak to four games.
"It wasn't to be [against Newcastle], but we've got a game just around the corner [against Brugge] and I think it's only good for us. We'll get back up and try to win that game. I'm sure we'll start scoring many goals soon. We've got so much quality up front that it's only a matter of time before someone puts one away and we'll be flying again," United left back Luke Shaw said in an interview to MUTV on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Brugge will be looking for an upset at their home groud. They have a uphill task ahead of them if they would want to nullify the two-goal deficit and qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Brugge did come from behind against Panathinaikos in the third quaifying round to set up a clash against United. Brugge handed a 3-0 defeat to Panathinaikos in the second leg after losing 1-2 in the first leg.
Van Gaal will be wary of it and would want his boys to be on their mettle. The home crowd will be right behind their favourite players on Wednesday but it will be advantage United as they lead by two goals at the moment. Even a draw would suffice and confirm their entry into the main rounds of Champions League 2015-2016 season.
"With all due respect to Panathinaikos, the level of Manchester United is different to the level of Panathinaikos. Against Panathinaikos, 1-0 was enough here. Maybe you can tell me the last team to beat Manchester United from two goals down?" Brugge head coach Michel Preud'homme told the media ahead of their clash against the Red Devils on Wednesday.
Club Brugge: Bruzzese; De Fauw, Castelletto, Duarte, De Bock; Claudemir, Vormer, Vanaken; Diaby, Vazquez, De Sutter.
Manchester United: Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Depay, Herrera, Mata; Rooney.
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The second leg of the UEFA Champions League play-off game between Club Brugge and Manchester United is scheduled for a 7:45 pm local time (12:15 am IST, 6:45 pm GMT, 2:45 pm EST) start and the live coverage of the match in India will be available on Ten Action. The live streaming of the same will be available on Tensports.com.
Viewers in the UK can switch to BT Sport Europe and the match between United and Brugge can be streamed live on MUTV Online.
Soccer fans in Australia can switch their attention to beIn Sports and stream the same live on beIn Sports Connect.
Viewers in the Middle-East can watch the Champions League play-off action between Manchester United and Club Brugge live on beIn Sports Connect Arabia and stream the same on beIn Sports Connect.