When Manchester United host Bayern Munich many Red Devils fans will reminisce back to the 1999 Champions League final, and how United grabbed the title out of Bayern’s hands through two injury-time goals.
If we look at the two sides today, the 1999 winners find themselves in a similar situation as they were in 90th minute in Barcelona – only the hardest United fans are giving them a chance.
But the difference is that both sides haven’t even entered the pitch, yet fans and experts alike would describe a progress of the English champions as a major upset.
We all know what has happened between 1999 and today – particular since David Moyes has taken over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are playing one of the worst English campaigns in the last 20 years, with their only chance to qualify for the 2014-15 Champions League is to win this year’s competition.
They have lost six home games in the league already, which is more than they lost in the previous three seasons together.
In the Champions League, however, Moyes’ side haven’t done too bad and experienced a ‘Fergie-like’ night in the return leg against Olympiakos a fortnight ago.
The 3-0 against the Greek side was United’s fourth home victory out of their four games as well as their fifth clean sheet in Europe this season.
Following the progress to the quarter-finals, Moyes and his players alike have expressed they can beat anyone in Europe on a given night. One a given night maybe, but can they progress over two legs against the European champions?
Bayern Munich have wrapped up their 24th Bundesliga title with seven games to go, without losing a single game. In fact, they are unbeaten in 53 domestic games and have only lost twice under Pep Guardiola.
The Spaniard has fine-tuned the ‘German machine’ which won the treble under Jupp Heynckes last year, and already added three more trophies – the European Supercup, the FIFA Club World Cup and the German Bundesliga title – since joining the Bavarians in the summer.
Bayern won six and have drawn one of their last seven Champions League games in the knockout stages, amongst them their famous whitewash against Barcelona in last year’s semi-final.
The have also won their past seven successive away games in the competition and only failed to score in one of their last 27 Champions League games.
While Bayern will miss Dante through suspension and Thiago Alcantrara through injury, David Moyes will have more headaches to put a competitive starting line-up together. Robin van Persie is still side-lined with inury, Patrice Evra is suspended and Juan Mata ineligible.
Right-back, Rafael, is a doubt after he missed training on Monday and the likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand and Antonio Valencia have all just returned from injury. Even Evra-replacement, Alex Buttner, has given his manager some headaches about his availability.
When comparing the two managers, United’s dilemma clearly comes to show. Whilst David Moyes has lost 13 games in his first season at Old Trafford so far, Pep Guardiola has lost only 14 games in nearly five years in all competitions.
Since the 1999 final, Man United have won just one of their six Champions League encounters with Bayern (W1 D2 L3), so it will be a mission of back to the past for David Moyes and his side.
My prediction for this encounter is a 3-0 to Bayern Munich, but maybe Moyes’ boys can call upon the spirit of 1999 to conjure another European fairy-tale.
What's your predictions, can Manchester United shock Bayern Munich? Have your say in the comment section below.