Operation Europe: A test of British this week

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The Independent Online
Fenerbahce v Manchester Utd

Shrouded by Juventus defenders in Turin last month, the English champions failed to register a shot on target in their last European match away from the home comfort of Old Trafford. A point would suffice, though proving one would greatly enhance United's Continental stock. Their last success on foreign soil, a 3-2 victory against Kispet Honved, dates back to September 1993.

Ajax v Rangers

David Murray, the Rangers chairman, would gladly swap a ninth successive Scottish championship for success in Europe this season. Anything less than victory against Louis van Gaal's troubled Ajax team, though, would make Celtic's record run of domestic titles the main target this season at Ibrox. Van Gaal considers the howitzer free-kicks of Jorg Albertz present a greater threat than Paul Gascoigne.

FC Sion v Liverpool

As well as giving us the cuckoo clock, and those fearsome Swiss Army knives (do they go over the top wielding tooth-picks?), Switzerland gave Marc Hottiger to Everton. The fact that the defensively challenged right-back arrived, via Newcastle, from Sion suggests Liverpool's Cup-winners' Cup opponents might not be strong enough to keep European nights off the bill on the red side of Stanley Park.

Ferencvaros v Newcastle

Newcastle were last over the moon, as major trophy winners, the month before Neil Armstrong actually stepped on to the thing when they played in Budapest in June 1969. They return to the Hungarian capital, scene of that Fairs' Cup triumph against Ujpesti Dozsa, to test their defensive mettle. The striker Igor Nichenko is the man most likely to leave Kevin Keegan's Magpies suffering from acute parrot sickness.

Aberdeen v Brondby

Brian Laudrup will be quids in this week, with or without Euro bonus bucks in Amsterdam. Brondby's trip to Pittodrie has been arranged by his travel agency. The Danish champions, who delivered a stunning KO punch at Anfield last season, are coached by Ebbe Skovdahl, uncle of the Rangers wide-boy. Roy Aitken's Dons will look to lead from the front with Dodds and Windass, the most potent strike-force in Scotland this season.

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