AaB Aalborg are looking to pull off a shock win over Manchester United in tonight’s Group E encounter, to create what what their coach, Bruce Rioch, has described as “an earthquake” across Denmark.
Rioch described the game as the biggest match in the Danish club’s history and the former Arsenal manager Rioch predicts the noise generated in the 10,000 capacity Aalborg Stadium, will be so loud it will be heard across the country.
“This is a massive game and has got the whole city buzzing,” he enthused. “It will be a tough evening for us but if we do win our supporters are sure to go crazy. It will be like an earthquake going off – everyone in Denmark will feel it.”
AaB go into this match on the back of a poor start to their domestic season. The Superligaen champions have taken just seven points from their first eight games, sitting one place above the relegation zone. But Rioch is not concerned, especially after the encouraging draw at Celtic a fortnight ago.
“I’ve told my players to enjoy this game and they’re ready,” he added. “We’re going to try and play football. I’ve never once sent a team out which I haven’t thought can get a result, and I won’t start now.”
There are no new injury concerns for Rioch, although Michael Jakobsen is serving a one-match suspension.
The holders travelled to Scandinavia without Gary Neville and Owen Hargreaves. After the goalless home draw with Villarrealon Matchday 1, Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to defend his side against accusations of complacency.
“Villarreal got us at a good time, when we were still advancing towards our best form. I think we’re in much better shape now,” he said.
“The players realise how important qualifying for the next stage is. We have a difficult game on Tuesday because they will be well-motivated and will have fantastic support, so we have to handle these things and hopefully get the right result.
“The most important thing is that Aalborg get our respect. We must make sure we don’t fall into any traps and play to our best level,” added Ferguson, who hopes Dimitar Berbatov can finally score his first goal for the club following his €38m deadline-day move from Tottenham Hotspur.
“Dimitar showed in patches against Bolton what he can do and once the players fully realise how good his movement is, I’m sure everything will click for him and he’ll get goals for us,” he said.