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AFTER winning the Europa League last season Manchester United make their Champions League return tonight and Unibet's Steve Jennings has provided a stats-packed preview.

Having been handed arguably the least daunting group draw of all the English clubs, Jose Mourinho’s side will be confident of progressing to the knockout stages.

But their first opponents, Basel, have a history of upsetting the Old Trafford apple cart. So which team do the stats suggest will fare best?

Basel are unbeaten against Manchester United at Old Trafford

Manchester United have faced Basel four times in the past, all in the Champions League. Each sides has won once and there have been two draws, both at Old Trafford: the sides drew 1-1 in March 2003 and 3-3 in September 2011. The 3-3 draw was a particularly exciting clash, with Basel coming from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with 14 minutes to go, only for Ashley Young to score a late equaliser. Not many sides got the better of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at Old Trafford, but Basel came incredibly close. They’ll be aiming to go one further with a win this time.

  • Basel can be backed at 17.0 with Unibet to win
Basel have failed to win any of their last 10 Champions League games

Having lost six and drawn four of their last ten Champions League matches, their longest winless run in the competition, Basel aren’t travelling to Old Trafford in the best European form. Despite their poor recent record, the visitors at least have a good level of Champions League experience. Basel are set to make their eighth appearance in the competition; that’s six more than any other club from the Swiss league. However, they have never progressed further than the Last 16, and they’ve only reached that stage twice, most recently in 2014-15.

  • Man Utd are favourites to win at 1.20 with Unibet
This will be Man United’s 21st Champions League appearance, the most of any English side

Only three clubs have participated in the Champions League more often than Manchester United: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Porto (22). The Red Devils have missed out on Champions League football in two of the last four seasons, yet they have still played in the competition more often than any other English club. United have progressed from the group stage in 16 of their 20 Champions League seasons. However, they haven’t reached the knockout stages since 2013/14 under David Moyes when were eventually eliminated by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

  • Man Utd are favourites to top the group at 1.40 with Unibet
Man Utd will become the fifth club Jose Mourinho has managed in the Champions League

Only Carlo Ancelotti (7), Rafael Benitez and Claudio Ranieri (6) have coached more clubs in the Champions League than Mourinho. Manchester United will be the fifth team he has managed in the competition following Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Mourinho has won the trophy with two of those clubs (Porto and Inter), making him one of only five managers to have won the European Cup/Champions League with two different teams. Could this be the year Mourinho makes it three?

  • Man Utd are 12.0 at Unibet to win the tournament
Paul Pogba has scored twice in 32 Champions League appearances

Of the 34 goals Paul Pogba scored over four seasons at Juventus, only two came in the Champions League. The midfielder equalled that number of goals in the Premier League after just two games this season, and he’ll be eager to replicate his early domestic form in Europe. His teammate Romelu Lukaku will be an even bigger threat to Basel. The Belgian has scored five goals in five appearances since joining Manchester United in the summer, including one in the European Super Cup against Real Madrid. 

  • Pogba is 6.75 at Unibet to open the scoring
  • Lukaku is 4.0 at Unibet to score two or more
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