BERLIN, Dec 7 – German champions VfL Wolfsburg are hoping to take advantage of Manchester United's growing casualty list when they take on the English giant on Tuesday for a place in the Champions League's last 16.Sir Alex Ferguson’s formidable side has earned a reputation as away-day specialists in Europe during the past three seasons, going unbeaten in 14 matches, apart from the 2008 and 2009 finals played at neutral venues.
United’s 23-match undefeated home run was ended by Turkey’s Besiktas in their last European game, leaving the three-time European champions on ten points, three above their German hosts and CSKA Moscow.
United are already through, but a draw in Germany would guarantee them a place in the first knockout round as group winners, but Ferguson admits he is struggling for options in defence.
Both defenders Wes Brown and Gary Neville limped off in the 4-0 win at West Ham leaving the Reds with eight defenders struggling to be fit for Wolfsburg.
"I don’t know where I’m going to get a back four for Tuesday," Ferguson said.
"The injuries in defence are becoming a bit of a headache to us."
Wolfsburg, meanwhile, must win to be sure of going through as group runners-up and hope Moscow struggle against Besiktas in Turkey.
United had to come from behind to defeat Wolfsburg 2-1 at Old Trafford in September after Wolves’ Edin Dzeko scored an early goal before Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick netted to save United’s blushes.
Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has hinted that the Premier League champions could make a move to sign Dzeko and the 23-year-old, has 14 goals in 23 appearances for his country Bosnia and Herzegovina his country.
"He has stature, his feet are good and he is producing some good performances. I am sure everybody has looked at him," said Phelan.
Wolfsburg, who warmed up for the United test by coming from behind to draw 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Saturday, have taken four points from their two Group B home games so far, but United will pose their toughest test yet.
United last lost as the away team in a UEFA Champions League tie when they succumbed 3-0 at AC Milan in the 2006-07 semi-finals.
Since then, they have recorded seven wins and seven draws, including 1-0 successes at Besiktas and CSKA this term.
United have kept nine clean sheets in those 14 outings and conceded just six goals.