Man United beware: Teodorczyk, Tielemans are Anderlecht threats

On Thursday, Manchester United play Anderlecht in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal tie. Here are five things you should know about the Belgian league leaders ...

1. They have their own Zlatan

Polish striker Lukasz Teodorczyk has relaunched his career since arriving on loan at Anderlecht from Dynamo Kiev last summer.

He has had a similar influence to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United and plays a little like him too -- often needing just one chance to punish an opponent. Teodorczyk's goals -- 24 in all competitions before the winter break -- regularly turned one point into three while many of his teammates started the season slowly.

"He puts the opposing defence under pressure but he also has very good technique," Anderlecht midfielder Leander Dendoncker told RTBF.

"He knows how to keep the ball, to score with his head and with his feet. I think he has everything to become a really great striker."

The goals have dried up recently for the man known simply as "Teo" by Anderlecht fans and he could be hindered against Manchester United by a shoulder injury he picked up during Sunday's draw with Gent.

But having now completed a permanent move to the Belgian side, Teodorczyk is certainly a force to be reckoned with. The 25-year-old is the top marksman in Belgium with 20 league goals and he has scored seven times in nine starts in the Europa League.

2. They have one of Europe's biggest midfield talents

This week Monaco were the latest side to be linked with Youri Tielemans, although Lyon and Atletico Madrid are also said to be keen on paying €25 million to €30 million to sign a player who will turn only 20 in May.

A host of Premier League clubs have also been following the creative midfielder since he started a Champions League game at the age of 16. This year, though, he has improved considerably.

Many people will have seen footage of Tielemans against Oostende in February, when he fired Anderlecht to victory with two long-range rockets -- first with the right foot, then with the left.

Shortly after Tielemans sprung from the bench, the goals came within two minutes of each other and the ball hit the net at speeds of 111 and 128 kilometres per hour. He scored another screamer the very next week against Genk -- one of 18 goals in all competitions this season.

There is much more to Tielemans' game though and last August he denied he had been contacted by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. He has indicated more recently that he does not want to "cut corners" in his career and is thought to be willing to take an intermediate step before joining a top club -- much like Vincent Kompany did when he left Anderlecht for Hamburg.

3. They have a lesser-known rising star

Tielemans made his first start for Belgium in last month's friendly against Russia but one of his central midfield partners at club level beat him to it.

The adaptable Leander Dendoncker played at centre-back in the 8-1 World Cup qualifying win over Estonia in November and the 21-year-old's importance to Anderlecht is highlighted by the fact he has not missed a minute of action in the Belgian Pro League or Europa League this season.

Zulte Waregem defensive midfielder Soualiho Meite, whom Hull reportedly wanted to sign for €13 million in January, said that Dendoncker provides great protection in front of Anderlecht's backline.

"For me, the 'man' at Anderlecht is Dendoncker," Meite told La Derniere Heure.

"He's the guy who does the invisible work. If Tielemans shines like that ... I find it's thanks to Dendoncker."

When pressed on which of the two he would sign, Meite chose Dendoncker.

4. They have their own Mourinho

Having not won the Belgian Pro League for two years, Anderlecht parted company with manager Besnik Hasi last summer. Claude Puel and Roberto Martinez were mentioned as possible replacements but the record Belgian champions surprised everyone by appointing Rene Weiler.

The 43-year-old from Switzerland led Bundesliga 2 side Nuremberg to a promotion playoff last season and soon made his mark at Anderlecht as the club cleared out 21 players.

Things took a while to get going, however, and Weiler's job was thought to be on the line early in the season. But since November, according to former Anderlecht and Newcastle defender Philippe Albert, they have been the best team in Belgium.

"He was completely unknown," Albert told ESPN FC.

"The three previous seasons with the old manager it was completely different. Players were a lot more certain of their place. So there was less work at training and when they conceded a goal they would let in three or four.

"Anderlecht had two very, very difficult seasons and with a young manager with a bit of a German mentality -- quite strict -- he has succeeded in getting the players to perform at a higher level."

5. Europe is not a priority

Anderlecht's 0-0 draw with Gent last weekend kept them four points clear at the top of the Belgian Pro League with eight matches left. It was the first of seven games in 21 days and, when it comes down to it, the league will take priority.

The 33-time winners have not won the title since the 2013/14 campaign and are thought to have invested upwards of €25 million on 13 players in a bid to dethrone defending champions Club Brugge.

Attacking midfielder Nicolae Stanciu arrived for a Belgian record fee -- €9.8 million, as long as Anderlecht qualify for next season's Champions League -- and was joined by another Romanian international -- the tireless winger Alexandru Chipciu.

In January, the club held firm with rugged centre-back Kara Mbodji, whom Leicester City and Crystal Palace were reportedly willing to spend €12 million on.

"They've already had a successful season by reaching the quarterfinals," Albert said of Anderlecht's approach to the game against United.

"So they are going to play with freedom. They know they have nothing to lose against Manchester so why not create a surprise.

"What they want above all else is to be champions of Belgium again because they haven't been for three years. And at that level, that's very, very long for Anderlecht and its supporters, who are used to celebrating the title every two years."