Man United's Solskjaer faces old teammate in Europa League

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Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gestures during the Europa League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Manchester United and LASK at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

DÜSSELDORF – DÜThe Europa League will set up a reunion for Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he takes on an old friend in the quarterfinals.

When Solskjaer's team faces Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday, the opposing coach will be his old Norway teammate Stale Solbakken.

The two played at the 1998 World Cup when Norway reached the last 16 and beat Brazil along the way. The Norwegian team was bursting with talent then but hasn't qualified for a World Cup since.

“I used to play with Stale Solbakken and he’s a good friend of mine — we’ve been in touch before today. We wished each other good luck and said hope to see you in Germany. They did their job, we did our job, so on to the next one," Solskjaer said Wednesday, according to UEFA.

“Stale's teams are always well organised and difficult to play against. Very talented young players with experience. He’s done fantastic in building team after team and it’s going to be a difficult one.”

United will be the overwhelming favorite, but Copenhagen and Solbakken have sprung surprises before. During his first spell as Copenhagen coach in 2006, Solbakken led the team to a 1-0 victory over United in the Champions League group stage.

Solskjaer was on the field for United that day alongside Wayne Rooney in attack, with a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo on the flank.

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