Bayer's Kruse targets strong start at United
Australia's Robbie Kruse has said Bayer Leverkusen need to hit the ground running at Manchester United's Old Trafford on Tuesday to build some Champions League momentum.
The 24-year-old joined Sami Hyypia's Leverkusen in July from Fortuna Duesseldorf and admits it would be a dream come true to make his Champions League debut against David Moyes' United.
"We are in a difficult group, it's important to start well and this is a tough test, everyone knows how strong Manchester United are, but we have the talent," Kruse told AFP.
"If we stick to the game plan, hopefully we can get a good result."
Having come off the bench in Leverkusen's last two Bundesliga matches, Kruse is eager to play on Old Trafford's hallowed turf and make his Champions League debut at the "Theatre of Dreams".
"It'll be wonderful just to be in the stadium and to be on the bench and it'll be excellent if I get the chance to come on," he said.
United's star strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney both netted in Saturday's 2-0 league win over Crystal Palace as Moyes earned his first home win since succeeding Alex Ferguson.
But Kruse said the Leverkusen squad are relishing the challenge.
"The boys are up for it. We have a great opportunity to show how good Bayer Leverkusen are and hopefully I can be a part of that," he said.
"United are an excellent side on paper, it may be a time of adjustment for them with a new manager, but they still have world-class players with plenty of strength up front."
Bayer face Spain's Real Sociedad, then Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in consecutive home fixtures next month in Group A and a good result in Manchester would provide momentum.
Leverkusen warmed-up for their trip to Manchester with a 3-1 win over 10-man VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday with Germany striker Stefan Kiessling scoring twice as Kruse came off the bench late on.
Having been a regular at Duesseldorf last season, Kruse is now battling Germany's Sidney Sam for Leverkusen's right wing berth.
With two appearances in Leverkusen's opening five games, Kruse has been described by Hyypia as "a victim of competition" in the Bayer squad, but the Socceroos star is biding his time.
"It's been a massive step up, I have gone from knowing I would play every week at Fortuna Duesseldorf to being part of a big squad at Leverkusen," said Kruse.
"It's hard to get in and once you're there, you have to play well to keep your place and I have to bide my time.
"It's about being patient and being ready when the chances come."
Kruse describes Bayer boss Hyypia, the ex-Liverpool defender, as a "wonderful coach" and is targeting a first-team place to help secure his place with the Australia squad at the Brazil World Cup.
Having scored and set up two goals in the 4-0 World Cup qualifier win over Jordan in June, Kruse was in the Australia team humbled 6-0 by hosts Brazil in a friendly earlier this month.
The World Cup hosts ran riot in Brasilia on Brazil's independence day, but Kruse said Holger Osieck's Australia team can only learn from the result ahead of next month's friendly with France in Paris.
"Brazil were simply much better than us across the field," admitted Kruse.
"It was an embarrassing defeat, but there is no point dwelling on it, we have some games coming up and we still have the World Cup next year.
"They were just better footballers than us and are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment.
"They picked probably their strongest team, which was playing on their national independence day, we just weren't up to scratch."