Robbie Kruse has urged Bayer Leverkusen to hit the ground running at Manchester United's on Tuesday and build some UEFA Champions League momentum. The 24-year-old joined Sami Hyypia's team from Fortuna Duesseldorf in July and admits it would be a dream come true to make his Champions League debut at Old Trafford.
"We are in a difficult group," the Australian told AFP. "It's important to start well and this is a tough test.
"Everyone knows how strong Manchester United are, but we have the talent. 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 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 forwards Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney both netted in Saturday's 2-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace as David Moyes earned his first home win since succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson at the reins. However, Kruse revealed the Leverkusen players are relishing the challenge.
"The boys are up for it," he said. "We have a great opportunity to show how good Bayer Leverkusen are and hopefully I can be a part of that.
"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 Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk in consecutive home fixtures next month in Group A, and a good result at United would provide momentum. Leverkusen warmed-up for their trip to Manchester with a 3-1 win over ten-man 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," explained Kruse. "I have gone from knowing I would play every week at Fortuna Duesseldorf to being part of a big squad at Leverkusen.
"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."
Brazilian humbling, 2014 target
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 in the Australia squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Having scored and set up two goals in the 4-0 qualifying win over Jordan in June, Kruse was in the Socceroos team humbled 6-0 by hosts Brazil in a friendly earlier this month. Luiz Felipe Scolari's side ran riot in Brasilia, but Kruse believes the men from Down Under can learn from the result ahead of next month's friendly with France in Paris.
"Brazil were simply much better than us across the field," he admitted. "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."