Feyenoord begin their Europa League campaign by hosting English giants Manchester United at De Kuip.

fey exdfdfThe Rotterdam club missed out on European football last season, but after finishing third in the Eredivisie they are back in the Europa League and have been handed an interesting group which not only contains Fenerbahce and Zorya, but Premier League giants Manchester United, who visit De Kuip on Thursday.

Feyenoord will look back at their 2014/15 season for inspiration with the club finishing top of their group which contained Sevilla, Rijeka and Standard Liege before being just edged out by Roma in the first knockout round. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side couldn’t go into the tie in any better form having won all five of their Eredivisie ties so far and they currently sit top of the table.

Opponents Manchester United, who find themselves in the Europa League after their disappointing campaign under Louis van Gaal last season, come into the tie having just lost the Manchester derby 2-1 to rivals City. New boss Jose Mourinho doesn’t have the best opinion of the Europa League and its not yet clear just how seriously the club will take the competition this season with a title challenge in the Premier League and a return to the Champions League their main focus.

The game on Thursday will be placed in front of a half-full stadium with Feyenoord punished by UEFA for crowd trouble during the tie with Roma two years ago.

Team news

Eljero Elia, and goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer are the only injury absentees for Feyenoord who otherwise have a fully fit squad to choose from. Giovanni van Bronckhorst could stick with the same side that beat ADO Den Haag at the weekend but the coach will also have one eye on this weekends trip to PSV Eindhoven and may decide to rest some of his key men.

Possible Feyenoord line-up: Jones, Karsdorp, Woudenberg, Botteghin, van der Heijden, Vilhena, El Ahmadi, Toornstra, Kuyt, Berghuis, Jorgensen

Mourinho has already confirmed that he will make a number of changes from the side that lost to Manchester City with Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw all left out of United’s squad. Memphis Depay will be hoping to begin his first game of the season on his return to Rotterdam, while fellow Dutchman Timothy Fosu-Mensah could also be involved. Wonderkid Marcus Rashford will definitely begin the game.

Possible Manchester United line-up: De Gea, Darmian, Rojo, Fosu-Mensah, Smalling, Carrick, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Memphis, Rashford, Martial

Key Players

Dirk Kuyt

The veteran captain of Feyenoord has begun the season in great form and in what could be his final Europa League campaign, will be eager to make a big impact. Kuyt has already bagged three goals in five league matches and the forward will be eager to net against United, who have remained a rival since his days with Liverpool.

Marcus Rashford

The 18-year-old striker was a revelation for Manchester United after making his debut in the Europa League last season but has not yet been given a real chance under Jose Mourinho. That will change on Thursday with Rashford already confirmed to start and he will be eager to impress his coach and prove he should be part of his plans for the Premier League. The tricky forward, who can play through the middle or on the wing has netted nine times in 21 appearances for the club.


Feyenoord: 10/3 Draw: 13/5 Manchester United: 17/20

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