Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov is not set to head to Germany. REUTERS

Dimitar Berbatov could make a rare appearance in the Champions League Tuesday night, as Manchester United welcome Basel to Old Trafford for their Group C encounter.

The Bulgarian, who has not scored in the competition for three years, is expected to feature with Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez both injured and Danny Welbeck still short of match fitness.

In their absence, Berbatov could partner Michael Owen in attack after the duo made their first starts of the season in last week's Carling Cup win over Leeds United.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists his record signing still has a vital role to play at the club.

"Of course he's got a part to play," said Ferguson. "He's one of our squad members and they've all got a part to play.

"We have a lot of games in the Premier League, Champions, FA Cup and Carling Cup. It's an exhausting season unless you use your squad.

"I don't have to reassure him. He knows his place in the squad and that applies to many players like Mame Diouf, Federico Macheda and Michael Owen. They're not playing regularly either."

Although the last four years have been the most successful in United's European history, Ferguson said the period could not be referred to as "golden" because they had lost to Barcelona in two of the three finals they reached.

"The Champions League is the best competition in the world now, better than the World Cup, better than the European Championships, it's a fantastic tournament.

"But it's not a golden period for us because we have lost two finals, so I don't think it can be called a golden period.

"We have been consistent in the Champions League, our form away from home has been outstanding and we hope we can do better this year and win it, that's the aim of this club all the time."

Wayne Rooney misses tonight's match with a hamstring injury and Ferguson said he was unsure when the England international would return.

"He's not playing tomorrow. It's difficult to assess with hamstrings but we hope we have him back quickly. He did a bit of jogging this morning but that's all," the Scot said.

Ferguson is also without Jonny Evans (ankle), Chris Smalling (groin) and Nemanja Vidic (calf), with Antonio Valencia expected to stand-in for the injured Rafael at right-back.

Group leaders Basel are without playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri who is suspended along with Benjamin Huggel. The Swiss outfit are also without Valentin Stocker, Gilles Yapi and Genseric Kusunga.

"It is not a question of getting equal," said manager Thorsten Fink. "I am glad to be here as a coach, it is not an everyday experience. If you are not careful against a team like Manchester United you end up paying."

Prediction: Man Utd 3 Basel 0

Man Utd. possible XI: De Gea; Valencia, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra; Young, Fletcher, Anderson, Nani; Owen, Berbatov.