Manchester United’s reward for a victory over LASK is a Europa League quarter-final tie against FC Copenhagen.

The Danish side beat Istanbul Basaksehir 3-1 on aggregate to reach the last eight, having previously beaten Celtic 4-2 over two legs in the first knockout round.

United will be clear favourites going into the tie, which will be held as a one-off match in Germany on Monday night.

FC Copenhagen vs Esbjerg fB - Danish 3F Superliga
(Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

Reunion for Guillermo Varela

The most notable FC Copenhagen player from United’s perspective is Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela.

Varela signed in June 2013, becoming the first player signed under David Moyes, and went into United’s under-23 side.

After a year on loan at Real Madrid, Varela finally made his debut for United under Louis van Gaal.

He showed promise and tenacity at right-back, but after making a mistake in a Europa League defeat to Liverpool, he was somewhat harshly never given another opportunity.

After an ill-fated loan at Frankfurt, Varela returned to Uruguay to join former club Penarol, and that is when his career begun to get back on track.


Varela won two titles in his homeland in 2017 and 2018 and this led to him winning his first international caps for his country. He has five in total, although none since 2018, in which he featured at the World Cup.

His form back in South America helped him to clinch a move back to Europe with Copenhagen.

Now 27, Varela won the third title of his career with the Danish side in 2018/19 and has made 42 appearances for the club this season alone.

It is good to see he has made a career for himself. Even in his brief appearances it seemed there was a player in there, but United was the wrong club at the wrong time for him to develop as he needed.


Not the only familiar face

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Copenhagen’s manager Stale Solbakken well, and this adds a little layer of intrigue to the match-up.

Solskjaer told the club website: “I know Stale [Solbakken, their manager] really well. A good friend of mine. I did my pro licence study with him in Copenhagen, so I know what there is to know about Stale probably. And he probably knows what there is to know about me! I’m looking forward to it.”

Both Solbakken and Varela will be looking to spring an upset on Monday night and United should not treat the Danes as a pushover.

Have something to tell us about this article?