MANCHESTER UNITED boss Sir Alex Ferguson insists his side can settle an old score and rewrite the history books when they take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League tonight.
Ferguson’s men take on the German giants in a repeat of the epic 1999 final, which United won 2-1 thanks to two injury-time goals.
Incredibly though, that famous night in Barcelona was United’s only win over Bayern in Europe’s top club competition.
So, now, Ferguson has his sights set on putting the record straight and leading his side to a fourth successive Champions League semi-final.
“The two clubs have a great history, it does put an edge to the game I feel,” he said. “We have met quite a few times in European football and I was surprised to discover that we have never beaten them in European ties apart from once in Barcelona. We want to change that, the team is in good form and hopefully we will get the result we want.”
Ferguson flew out to Munich with a fully-fit squad, including his England duo Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, who have recovered from foot and groin injuries respectfully.
With six straight wins under their belt, the odds have heavily staked in United’s favour. Bayern have suffered back-to-back defeats in the Bundesliga and are without winger Arjen Robben, who has picked up a calf strain.
Indeed, Ferguson believes his men are beginning to peak at just the right time – especially on the continent. “We have matured as a team in Europe,” the Scot added. “Our away record over the last two or three years has been fantastic. It is 17 games undefeated away from home now. That is an indication of the team’s maturity and understanding of how to play in Europe.”
The only player from either side to survive the 1999 final is United veteran Ryan Giggs, who admits he would settle for the same outcome tonight. “It was one of the greatest nights of my life,” Giggs said. “Hopefully we won’t leave it as late as we did then.”
FLASHBACK | CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL 1999: BAYERN MUNICH 1-2 MAN UTD
A goal down to Mario Basler’s sixth minute free-kick, United are staring final defeat in the face. But with 90 seconds from the end, David Beckham swings over a corner from the left, Ryan Giggs half hits a shot goalbound and Teddy Sheringham steers the ball home for a dramatic equaliser.
With the Germans stunned and United fans celebrating behind the goal, Ferguson’s men go on the attack again and win another corner from the left with just 40 seconds left. Beckham delivers, Sheringham heads on at the near post and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer flicks the ball home to snatch victory.
It was dubbed the most dramatic two minutes in the cup’s history and completed a unique treble for the league and FA Cup winners. It was United’s first European Cup in 31 years and served as a fitting tribute to legendary Sir Matt Busby, who would have celebrated his 90th birthday on the night.