Phil Jones could make a quicker-than-expected recovery from a groin injury to play for Manchester United against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
And manager David Moyes is hopeful that captain Nemanja Vidic and top scorer Robin van Persie, who both missed Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Cardiff, will also be able to return in Germany.
But Jones’ comeback could be particularly timely for Moyes, who will definitely be without midfielders Marouane Fellaini, who is suspended after being sent off in the 0-0 draw at Real Sociedad, and Michael Carrick, who has an Achilles injury.
The 21-year-old’s last start for United was in the centre of midfield against Arsenal before he was hurt playing for England against Chile and sat out their friendly against Germany and the Cardiff game amid reports he could be sidelined for up to three weeks.
But Moyes revealed in his post-match news conference that the former Blackburn player might be fit for the Champions League game.
"Possibly," he said. "I don't think he is as bad as we first thought. He's not too far away. It's a groin injury, right up his hip."
Van Persie has struggled with groin and toe injuries this season and was not fit enough for the game in Wales while Vidic was substituted against Arsenal after suffering concussion in a collision with goalkeeper David de Gea.
Moyes added: "Robin’s groin is the problem at the moment; his toes are much better. We are hoping to get both Nemanja and Robin back as soon as we can.
"I hope they'll be in contention for Wednesday but I couldn’t give a definitive answer."
Shinji Kagawa was another absentee for the Cardiff game, with Adnan Januzaj deputising on the left wing, and Moyes said the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder was hurt on international duty.
He explained: "Kagawa got injured playing for Japan. It’s an injury to his foot; there’s some bruising there, but it’s not too bad."