Forget Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, and Karim Benzema. The biggest threats to Manchester United on Wednesday could be the German referee and an English groundsman.
Felix Brych is the man in the middle. He sent off Nemanja Vidic in the Champions League group stage last season, a decision which saw the club captain suspended for two games as United crashed out.
Given Sir Alex Ferguson's encyclopaedic memory of refereeing calls, it is likely he will remind his players about the Munich-based official.
Vidic was guilty of a lunging challenge on Otelul Galati's Gabriel Giurgiu in the 66th minute of their match in Romania. It looked a yellow card but Brych decided his foot was high enough to warrant a straight red.
And rather than a one-match ban, UEFA contacted United prior to the reverse fixture earlier to inform the club that Vidic would instead be banned for two games.
At the time, Ferguson initially described Vidic's dismissal as 'very harsh', before adding: 'I can understand the referee's interpretation because German football is different to England.'
Stay on your feet may be his message before this last-16 first-leg match.
Brych meanwhile will hope he suffers no repeat of his embarrassing water bottle mishap suffered during last year's Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Hannover, when the contents sprayed all over his face.
Paul Burgess is the man with green fingers. He has worked for Real Madrid since 2009 (he was previously at Arsenal) and promises a slick surface suited to Jose Mourinho's counter-attacking football.
Burgess, who began his career at Blackpool, has been consulting with Mourinho over the best preparation for the Bernabeu pitch. The 34-year-old spent 12 years at Arsenal and won groundsman of the year five times before being recommended to Madrid by Juande Ramos, who had been impressed by the Emirates pitch while boss of Tottenham.
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