Manchester United will play Villarreal, Atalanta and Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League group stages as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side prepare for the latest challenges in Europe’s elite club competition.
The tournament kicks off on 14 September (our match dates will be confirmed in due course) and here’s everything you need to know about our three group-stage opponents…
Our record: P5 W0 D4 L1 (2005, 2008, 2021)
We’ve had a few stalemates against Villarreal in the past, hopefully this season will prove more exciting!
United have faced off against Spanish opposition in all of the last five European seasons, with mixed results. Villarreal are, of course, the side that came out on top in May’s UEFA Europa League final. This is the second time we will come up against the Yellow Submarine in the Champions League group stage. In both 2005/06 and 2008/09 – the season in which we reached a second consecutive final – the Reds came up against Villarreal, with all four games ending 0-0.
Our record: N/A
It’s a new opponent for United who will travel to Bergamo for the first time in our history for a UEFA Champions League match. Atalanta have enjoyed a brilliant rise in recent years.
United travel to Bergamo for the first time!
Promoted into Serie A in 2010/11, they forced their way towards the top of the table, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in 2019. They’ve since surpassed expectations by reaching the Round of 16 in both of their Champions League campaigns. They were knocked out by eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019/20 quarter-finals before losing 4-1 to Real Madrid in the Round of 16 last season.
This won’t be the first time Atalanta, who previously had Amad on their books, have come up against English opposition. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side played Manchester City in 2019/20 and Liverpool in 2020/21, their record being W1 D1 L2 in those games.
Our record: P2 W2 D0 L0 (2018)
Pogba scored twice in our 2018 match against Young Boys.
BSC Young Boys qualified for this year’s competition through the play-offs, beating Slovan Bratislava, CFR Cluj and Ferencvaros. We have faced the Swiss side on only two occasions, two group-stage matches in 2018. Playing away from home first, a double from Paul Pogba gave United a 3-0 win before the Reds won 1-0 at home with a late Marouane Fellaini winner.
It’s a long time since Young Boys’ European heyday when they reached the European Cup semi-finals in 1958/59. It’s not totally unfamiliar opposition for United because not only did we play them three years ago, but the Swiss champions are managed by David Wagner, former coach of Huddersfield Town, who joined the club this summer.