Champions League Fixtures 2015: Schedule, Live Stream for Play-off Matches

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14:  Bastian Schweinsteiger of Manchester Unitedduring the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park on August 14, 2015 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United bid to find themselves a place in the Champions League group stage, with the qualifying play-off first legs taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The Red Devils are drawn against Belgian hopefuls Club Brugge, with Louis van Gaal hoping his side make short work of their opponents at Old Trafford.

In the round's other notable ties, Lazio host Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, CSKA Moscow travel to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon and Valencia welcome Ligue 1 stalwarts Monaco.

Here are full schedule details for the play-offs, with streaming information:

Champions League Play-Offs: Tuesday, Aug. 18
Kick-Off (BST)Kick-Off (ET)MatchStream
5 p.m.12 p.m.FC Astana v Apoel NicosiaBT Sport App
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.BATE Borisov v Partizan BelgradeBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Lazio v Bayer LeverkusenBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Manchester United v Club BruggeBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Sporting Lisbon v CSKA MoscowBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
UEFA.com
Champions League Play-Offs: Wednesday, Aug. 19
Kick-Off (BST)Kick-Off (ET)MatchStream
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Celtic v MalmoBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.FC Basel v Maccabi Tel AvivBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Rapid Vienna v Shakhtar DonetskBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Skenderbeu Korce v Dinamo ZagrebBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
7.45 p.m.2.45 p.m.Valencia v MonacoBT Sport App (UK) Fox Soccer 2Go (US)
UEFA.com

(Click HERE for the BT Sport App, and HERE for Fox Soccer 2GO.)

Big Guns Look For Safe Passage

The Champions League play-offs are full of historically successful clubs this term, but they do not come bigger than the fallen giant of English football. 

Manchester United are looking to reclaim their birthright in Europe's top competition, and they will be hoping to find a safe route to the group stages past Brugge. 

Van Gaal has armed his squad with experience this season, after the spectacular flops of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria. Both players have been shown the Old Trafford exit in double-quick time, with the Red Devils recruiting the exciting Memphis Depay and—serial winner of trophies—Bastian Schweinsteiger. 

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

It was the German's recruitment that shocked many pundits and commentators, with the international captain having spent his entire career at Bayern Munich. 

However, the midfielder's introduction to United means LvG has a player who knows how to navigate shark-infested waters, and the coach will gamble his former FCB player can perform at the Theatre of Dreams. 

John Percy of the Telegraph quotes Schweinsteiger addressing United's Champions League mandate, with the German sounding confident and knowledgeable about the potential pitfalls ahead:

I played once in a qualification for Munich, so this is a little bit different to normal group games, but our goal is first to have a good result in the first leg. We still have to work and improve but we will get to the next level. I'm looking forward to it a lot, I really like the night games, I think also at Old Trafford it will be a special atmosphere there.

It's very important to control the game against FC Brugge, we have to score and the most important also is that we are like a team in defence, what we did against Aston Villa and also against Tottenham, so the team spirit is very good.

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

United have started their Premier League campaign conservatively but have gained maximum points from both matches. 

Wayne Rooney will lead the line after the sale of Robin van Persie, but the skipper has not started his season well, looking short of fitness and touch.

The Manchester Evening News' Samuel Luckhurst heavily criticised the White Pele, and saysan upgrade should be sought by LvG:

United haven't featured in the Champions League since April 2014, and Red Devils fans will welcome back nights of European football to Old Trafford after the disastrous tenure of David Moyes.

Brugge were one of the easier teams in the hat for United, and Van Gaal will be looking to bury his opponent in the first leg. 

The Reds have an impressive record against Belgian opposition in their three games—holding an 18-1 aggregate-score advantage over teams from the Flemish nation—per UEFA.com.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 29:  Dedryck  Boyata celebrates of Celtic scoring against FK Qarabag during the UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg match between Celtic and FK Qarabag at Celtic Park on July 29, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo
Steve Welsh/Getty Images

In the play-off's other games, Celtic will feel they have an excellent chance of finding their way to the group stage as they face off against Swedish side Malmo. 

The Scottish champions are rarely tested in their own country after the fall from grace of neighbours Rangers, but this has made life in Europe difficult, with the step-up in class. 

Valencia will feel they have more than enough to beat Monaco, who have a solid record in UEFA's elite club competition over the years. The team have been eclipsed by Paris Saint-Germain in their own country as French football's most likely successful club, and they will find it difficult to defeat the Spaniards on their own patch.

Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

Valencia have won all of their previous home games against French opposition in European competition, per UEFA, and they will expect to beat their opponent over two legs. 

Tuesday represents a pivotal day for LvG and United as they search to find just where they now stand in a competition they once excelled in.

The Red Devils want to compete in the Champions League's biggest matches, and with the top four in the Premier League becoming harder to achieve every year, they must make the most of their current situation.

Schweinsteiger will offer leadership but Rooney must come to the party if United are to score the goals to destroy Brugge. If the Belgium side can eliminate United, it will be one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history. But the Reds are still fragile as they go through transition and might just fluff their lines.  

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