Sun, 17/09/23, 15:31
Introducing Bayern's UCL opponents Manchester United
The Champions League is back! FC Bayern begin their 2023/24 European campaign with a home fixture against Manchester United. We take a closer look at our opening opponents.
Barcelona and a good record
Deep sadness and absolute elation – the previous encounters with Manchester United evoke wildly mixed reactions among Bayern fans. They certainly don't leave anyone cold, though. This fixture has its beginnings in the 1998/99 UCL season. After two draws in the group stage, the two teams met around six months later in the final in Barcelona – and nobody needs reminding of the outcome of the match. However, Bayern later avenged the painful 2-1 injury-time defeat in a way...
In 2001, the Bavarians overcame the Red Devils in the quarter-finals on their way to the title. And since then, too, FCB have mostly got the better of United, suffering just one defeat – "probably the nicest" in spring 2010, when Arjen Robben's wonder goal was enough to reach the semi-finals despite a 3-2 loss at Old Trafford. With four wins, five draws and only two defeats, the overall head-to-head record favours the German record champions.
Still number one in England, but number two in the city
With 20 top-flight titles, Man Utd are still England's most successful club behind Liverpool (19). However, it's 10 years since their last Premier League title. The dominant position that the Red Devils enjoyed under legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson, particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s, has since been passed on to city rivals Manchester City. However, even after winning the treble in the summer, the Cityzens have by no means earned as many international merits as United.
From the Champions League (1968, 1999, 2008) to the Intercontinental Cup (1999) or the FIFA Club World Cup (2008), the European Cup Winners' Cup (1991) and the Europa League (2017), the team's last European title, the Red Devils have won every major trophy in world football. However, in recent times the famous old club have failed to reach those heights, neither domestically nor in Europe. They did reach the final of the Europa League two years ago, but lost in dramatic fashion to Villarreal 11-10 on penalties.
Trophy drought ended by ten Hag
Coach Erik ten Hag managed to end United's six-year wait for a trophy with victory in the EFL Cup in late February. The Dutchman, who coached the FC Bayern reserves from 2013 to 2015, took over at Old Trafford last summer and guided them to third place in the league, earning them a place in the Champions League following a one-year absence.
It's been a stuttering start to the new Premier League season, though. Both away matches at Tottenham (0-2) and Arsenal (1-3) ended in clear defeats, while on home soil, narrow wins against Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-0) and Nottingham Forest (3-2) were followed by a 3-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Such a start is below the expectations in Manchester, particularly when you look at the star names in the squad, which include Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes, speedy forward Marcus Rashford and highly decorated Brazilian holding midfielder Casemiro.
Before Wednesday's meeting of his two former clubs, fcbayern.com spoke to Owen Hargreaves: