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1999 Champions League Final

On 26th of May 1999, Manchester United and Bayern Munich battled each other in the UEFA Champions League final. The Red Devils defeated the Bavarians at the Camp Nou in Barcelona and completed a historic treble (Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League) in the 1998-99 season.


Champs League SF Peter Schmeichel


Manchester United and Bayern Munich were drawn together in the group of death, alongside Spanish champions Barcelona and Danish champions Brondby. The first meeting between United and Bayern was at the Olympiastadion on matchday 2. The match ended in a 2-2 draw with Bayern drawing level in the dying minutes. Their next meeting saw the pair again play out a draw as the game finished 1-1. The result allowed Bayern to finish as group winners while United went through to the knockout stage as one of the two group runners- up with the best record.


Manchester United were without two of their best players namely Roy Keane and Paul Scholes for the final. The duo missed out on the final due to suspension. With Keane out, goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was named as captain. Sir Alex Ferguson had originally considered selecting Ryan Giggs to join Nicky Butt in central midfield, but ultimately picked David Beckham. Giggs started on the right wing whereas Jesper Blomqvist starting on the left. Manchester United's top two goalscorers, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke started up front leaving Teddy Sheringham on the bench. Fellow striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, back up goalkeeper Raimond Van Der Gouw, defenders David May, Phil Neville and Wes Brown and midfielder Jonathan Greening were also on the bench.


Bayern Munich’s team selection had been impacted by injuries with left back Lizarazu and forward Elber suffering season ending knee injuries. The latter’s absence resulted in Bayern playing a three man attack of Basler, Jancker and Zickler while Lizarazu was replaced by Michael Tarnat. The defence was anchored by Lothar Matthaus, Thomas Linke and Ghana international Samuel Kuffour.


The night, which eventually became one of Manchester United’s most memorable nights, didn't start well. Bayern raced into the lead after six minutes when Mario Basler deceived Peter Schmeichel from a free kick just outside the box. Despite the bad start United began to dominate possession. However, they failed to create any clear cut chances. United never got going in the game and survived two late scares in the second half when Bayern were denied by the woodwork. The score remained 1-0 till the start of stoppage time, when two substitutes stepped up. Teddy Sheringham, who had scored just four goals until that point in the season, guided home Giggs’ scuffed shot from Beckham’s corner in the 91st minute. The scores were level and United were buzzing. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tapped in a stoppage time winner and won the trophy for United. The triumph capped off an amazing season for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men. In the process, Manchester United won their second Champions League title.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 1999 UEFA Champions League Final


Alex Ferguson’s tactical adeptness won the day for the Red Devils. The former United manager had envisaged that Bayern would substitute their wingers to protect a lead and drop back. Ferguson took advantage and played a three man attack in the second half. However, the crowning glory for Ferguson was the substitutions he made. With the game seemingly drifting away from the English side, he introduced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham who eventually won United the Champions League crown.


Alex Ferguson with the European Cup



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