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Triumphs and trauma

One painful blemish on FCB’s fine record

Bayern have only ever lost once to Manchester United, back on 26 May 1999 – but it was the most traumatic defeat in club history, and sends a shudder down the spine of the FCB faithful even to this day. The clock at Camp Nou in Barcelona had already stopped at 90 minutes, indicating normal time was up. Goal-scorer Mario Basler and his team-mates were on their feet, ready to don winners’ T-shirts and caps.

Franz Beckenbauer had already set off for the trophy presentation, in the company of then UEFA President Lennart Johansson and diehard Munich fan Boris Becker. “We got into the lift with the score 1-0 to Bayern,” Becker later related, “from inside the lift, we heard celebrations. We thought to ourselves: OK, that’s the final whistle. A few moments later, as we made our way up the tunnel towards the pitch, we saw the United players celebrating, and the Bayern players prostrate on the turf. I thought: Damn, they’ve equalised. And then I glanced up at the scoreboard: 2-1! We just stared at each other in disbelief.”

Bayern had indeed fallen just over 100 seconds short of a massive coup, but Teddy Sheringham (90+1) and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer (90+3) earned United arguably the most dramatic Champions League triumph of them all. Eleven years have passed since that fateful night, but the game is a hot topic once again in the build-up to Bayern’s quarter-final meeting with the Premier League giants. The United squad even includes four players who were part of events in Barcelona: Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Wes Brown and Paul Scholes, although the latter was suspended for the final.

Unbeaten home and away

However, all four are keenly aware of the Red Devils’ previous difficulties with Germany’s most successful club. The 1999 victory was United’s only win against Bayern in seven attempts, as the record shows four draws and two wins for Munich. The neutral ground of Barcelona aside, FCB are undefeated against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, winning once and drawing twice both home and away.

Overall, Munich boast an excellent record against English teams, especially at home. FCB have only lost once such match in Bavaria, a 2-1 defeat to Norwich City in the second round of the 1993-4 UEFA Cup. In all their matches against English clubs, Bayern have won 11, drawn 12 and lost eight.

Promising omens

Bayern last met United some eight years ago in the 2001-2 second group stage, the sides drawing 1-1 in Munich and 0-0 in Manchester. The clubs had met at the quarter-final stage the previous season, Bayern winning 1-0 in Manchester and 2-1 at the Olympic stadium, going on from there to claim the trophy. From a historical perspective, Manchester United in the last eight is no bad draw for FCB.