Juventus v Deportivo
Each team knows victory knocks the other out of the competition. And if Manchester United, as expected, defeat Basle the victors will qualify for the quarter-finals.
“It is a true cup tie,” said Juventuscoach Marcello Lippi.
However, Juve will be without the services of Alessandro Del Piero, who has ‘flu. But Lippi welcomes back David Trezeguet and Pavel Nedved to the starting line up.
Having played each other in the last two seasons, Juve have so far failed to beat Deportivo at home – both games ending goalless.
But Lippi remains confident.
“The game on Wednesday will be a new and completely different matter,” he said.
Deportivo have included goalkeeper Jose Molina in the squad. Although he has recovered from testicular cancer he is not expected to play.
Noureddine Naybet (defender) and Mauro Silva (midfield) should play after being rested at the weekend. But midfielder Donato Gama and defender Pablo Amo are both injured.
Coach Javier Irureta will take an attacking approach to the match and is likely to play two wingers – Sergio and Fran Gonzalez – with Diego Tristan and Roy Makaay up front.
Irureta said: “There is no doubt this will be a difficult game but we are here to win … We need everyone to be on top of their game and everyone to give 100 per cent. Only then will we have a chance of winning this game.”
Juventus : Gianluca Buffon, Alessandro Birindelli, Lilian Thuram, Mark Iuliano, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi, Alessio Tacchinardi, Edgar Davids, Pavel Nedved, Marco Di Vaio, David Trezeguet.
Deportivo la Coruna: Juanmi, Hector, Cesar, Noureddine Naybet, Enrique Romero, Victor, Sergio, Mauro Silva, Fran; Roy Makaay, Diego Tristan
Manchester United v Basle
Roy Keane, Juan Sebastian Veron, Mikael Silvestre, Wes Brown and Quinton Fortune are all carrying injuries and will not play. Diego Forlan is also doubtful with an ankle injury.
Skipper Keane said: “It gives the manager a chance to play a few of our youngsters against different opposition, which can only help them learn.”
Nicky Butt should start in midfield and Laurent Blanc is fit again and could play part of the game. Ruud Van Nistelrooy is likely to be among the substitutes with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer getting a rare start in attack.
Youngsters Kieren Richardson, Darren Fletcher and Danny Pugh are all hoping to figure. Although fielding an under strength side Ferguson was still looking for a win.
“In fairness to all the teams we have to make sure Manchester United perform at their best. I would hate to have a bad performance and have all sorts of questions asked,” he said.
Basle have an outside chance of progressing to the quarter-finals if they can beat United.
Coach Christian Gross brought his team to England at the weekend to avoid local carnival celebrations.
“I know how tempting this carnival is,” said Gross. “This way we can avoid being caught up in the celebrations. They are far too distracting”
Defender Murat Yakin has shaken off the ‘flu and is fit to play. Alexandre Quennoz is the man to make way. Only midfielders Antonio Esposito and Ivan Ergic are missing from Christian Gross’s squad.
Manchester United: Barthez, Carroll, Ricardo, G Neville, Brown, Ferdinand, O’Shea, Beckham, P Neville, Scholes, Butt, Giggs, van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer, Forlan, Roche, Richardson, Pugh, Fletcher
Basle: Pascal Zuberbuehler, Bernt Haas, Murat Yakin, Marco Zwyssig, Thimothee Atouba, Mario Cantaluppi, Scott Chipperfield, Sebastien Barberis, Hakan Yakin, Julio Hernan Rossi, Christian Gimenez