Danish Superliga

Manchester United - Copenhagen
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LIVE, Man Utd-Copenhagen, Inter-Bayer: How to watch, start time, odds

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Manchester United – Copenhagen preview: Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken isn’t disguising his happiness that a bid to oust tournament favorites Manchester United from the Europa League will be contested over just one leg thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: JPW’s European predictions ]

“It is a great advantage for us that it is decided over one match on neutral ground and without spectators, than if we had to meet them both home and away,” he said on the club’s official site.

The entire tie will be staged at 3 pm ET Monday, the same time that Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan meets Bayer Leverkusen in Germany.


Team news

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s got his stars on show and opts for a couple of surprises at the back in Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams.

Ex-United prospect Guillermo Varela starts for Copenhagen, the biggest underdogs of the round.

As for Inter and Bayer, there’s going to be a lot of fun in store for neutrals.

The Serie A side has a lot of experience on big stages, with Diego Godin, Romelu Lukaku, and Ashley Young in Conte’s Starting XI.

Kai Havertz leads Bayer Leverkusen’s attack, the Bundesliga side hoping for a UEL crown that would put them back in the Champions League.


Know the opponent: Copenhagen

The Danish Superliga runners-up stumbled down the stretch to finish four points ahead of third but well behind title-winning Midtjylland. Ousted from the Champions League by Red Star Belgrade in penalty kicks, defending has been an issue.

Players of a 4-4-2 for many of their recent outings, Copenhagen has won their last two in a 4-2-3-1. You may see ex-Manchester United prospect Guillermo Varela and former Sunderland and Everton player Bryan Oviedo.

Here are the highlights of the Round of 16 defeat of Istanbul Basekshir. Jonas Wind led the way in the 3-0 triumph at home, overcoming the 1-0 first leg loss in Turkey.


How they got here

Copenhagen had nearly five months to lament their 1-0 first leg deficit to Istanbul Basaksehir, then unloading on the Turkish powers via a 3-0 second leg in Denmark.

Copenhagen began their UEL run all the way back in the champions’ route of the playoff round, beating Latvia’s Riga before finishing second to Malmo in Group B. It then beat Celtic to get to the Round of 16 tie with Basaksehir.

United went 4-1-1 in the group stage, a loss to Astana on the penultimate match day no big deal thanks to a home pounding on AZ Alkmaar on the final day to win Group I.

The Red Devils pounded Club Brugge and LASK Linz over two legs to seal a space in the quarterfinals and are significant favorites to win the UEL. Their +180 odds through DraftKings are ahead of Inter Milan (+325) and Sevilla (+500).


What they’re saying

Man Utd’s Sergio Romero on the nature of his club: “As a group of players, if we have a team-mate who is struggling a bit on the day, all the lads have to give him a lift, so he can compete in the game in the best possible way. For sure, every bit of work and effort every day in training, as well as all our dreams are focused on getting United back to another Europa League final. So, we’re going to work hard for that to happen.”

Copenhagen boss Solbakken: “We have to meet the best Premier League team since the coronavirus break, and have, among other things, seen how they beat LASK 5-0 with a B-team, so no matter who they field, we naturally have great respect. … They have a lot of quick players, they play fast and they’ve been good on the counter since Bruno Fernandes came, and they also combine very fast around the field. So there is a lot you can get nervous about, but we have to stick to our own plan and see how far it can take us.”


Odds

The one-legged nature of this round changes the nature of the competition, as class will generally win out over 180 minutes. Ninety (plus) brings a bigger chance of an upset, with Manchester United at -385 and Copenhagen still the biggest underdog of the round at +1000.


Prediction

The match won’t be without scares, but even an empty Old Trafford bears its advantages. United emerges with a 3-1 win.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com

Sweden not planning to test soccer players for virus

Sweden football
Photo by David Lidstrom/Getty Images
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Swedish soccer players and coaches will not be required to take a test for COVID-19 before training sessions or matches as part of the country’s proposed return-to-play protocol during the pandemic.

Instead, they will have to fill in a self-assessment form each morning and email it to their club doctor no later than two hours before arriving for training, or before arriving at a stadium for a match. The doctor will then assess whether the players and coaches are healthy enough to take part.

They must stay at home if they have any symptoms.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It follows the general principle adopted in Swedish society that only people who “are feeling so ill that they must visit a hospital get a full-scale corona test,” the Swedish league told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

”So, in line with that, we do not have the opportunity to test our players.”

The return-to-play protocols for training and professional matches, which were published by the Swedish league on Tuesday, have been presented to the country’s Public Health Authority.

The authority is expected to decide this week whether the top two Swedish leagues can start next month. They are hoping to begin playing matches on June 14, more than two months after the initially scheduled start date.

Swedish society hasn’t completely shut down during the virus outbreak because the government and health authorities have chosen not to impose as many restrictions as other countries.

That is reflected in its proposed return-to-play protocols in soccer, which differ to other leagues in Europe.

Just across the border in Denmark, for example, players and certain staff members will make self-examinations before training sessions, then enter a “testing regime” before league games or friendlies against other clubs, Danish Superliga chief executive Claus Thomsen told the AP.

Every player will be tested once before matches and probably on a weekly basis, or more, after that.

“It is not a small expense for clubs of the size of the Danish league,” Thomsen said. “But it is an expense we will carry.”

The Danish league is planning to resume on May 28.

In Germany, where soccer will resume this weekend, players and staff in the top two men’s leagues in Germany had to undergo two rounds of testing prior to resuming full team training last week. They will also require regular tests prior to each game.

It’s estimated it will require a minimum of 20,000 tests to finish the season.

In England, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said Monday the tests set to be used by players were developed by the sister company of the one used by the Bundesliga.