Manchester United manager David Moyes is a long term admirer of Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling, admitting he was desperate to sign the striker while manager at Everton.
The 29-year-old is likely to lead Bayer's attack when his side take on the Premier League champions at Old Trafford tonight in what will be David Moyes' first taste of the group stages of the Champions League.
Ahead of their match the Scot has revealed his admiration for the German striker, admitting that only final constraints at Goodison Park stopped him from signing the striker during his tenure at the Merseyside club.
"In all the years I was at Everton, I followed him all the time," Moyes was quoted as saying by German publication Bild.
"But the money was sadly lacking.
"I have great respect for him. He is a great player who is strong with his head and his feet."
Kiessling will take on United's defence in prolific form. After finishing last season as the league's top scorer with 25 league goals, he now sits second in the Bundesliga's goal scoring charts with four goals in his side's opening five games, in addition to chalking up three assists for his teammates.
His impressive form suggests he will start at Old Trafford, a decision that is ultimately in the hands of Bayer manager Sami Hyypia. The former Liverpool stalwart spent a decade at Anfield between 1999 before moving to Leverkusen in 2009, eventually taking the managerial reins at the German outfit a last year.
The former Finland international took part in his share of Merseyside derbies against Moyes' Everton sides over the years, and Hyypia believes that Sir Alex Ferguson's successor should be afforded all the time he needs to get things right.
"David Moyes is an experienced manager," Hyypia said. "Everyone should give him more time to get things running.
"Hopefully it doesn't happen against us. We have to stop them getting their rhythm and make sure they don't score in open play."
Leverkusen are waiting on news of influential midfielder and Germany international Lars Bender, who faces a late fitness test as he overcomes a hip injury that ruled him out of his side's 3-1 over Wolfsburg at the weekend, in addition to World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Faroe Islands.
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