Following wins against AZ Alkmaar and Cercle Brugge respectively, Linzer ASK (or LASK) and Manchester United are through to the last 16 of the Europa League.
The two clubs were drawn together on Friday afternoon, which has caused different reactions in both the Austrian and English press as to what to look forward to.
With clubs such as AS Roma and Inter also available, there will have been some relief within the Old Trafford fanbase at the outcome, but it must be said that LASK cannot be underestimated.
The club are currently top of the Austrian Bundesliga ahead of RB Salzburg, and managed to see off the second team in Holland in the previous round.
They know they will be going into the tie as the underdogs against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, which could play in their favour, but for a number of players in the squad, just the fact they are playing against Manchester United is enough.
Take goalkeeper Alexander Schlager, for example, who told Puls24, relayed by LigaPortal: “With this lot, a childhood dream comes true. You get to know the Theatre of Dreams as a small child. We are all really looking forward to this duel”.
The club’s vice-president, Jürgen Werner, also joined in the amazement, stating: “If someone had told that before the season, we would have called them crazy”.
As for the club’s manager, former Bayern Munich defender Valérien Ismaël, the reaction was a lot calmer.
He said: “Manchester United is one of the best teams in the world. We have an incredible highlight ahead of us. We look forward to this task and will prepare ourselves very well. Our first goal for the first leg is to give ourselves a good starting position for the return match”.
The first leg will be played in Linz at the Linzer Stadion on March 12th, with the return at Old Trafford a week later.