United were beaten in the inaugural Audi Cup final, as tournament hosts Bayern Munich took the trophy after an epic penalty shootout in the Allianz Arena.
Penalties were the only way to decide a winner after a cagey 90 minutes in which each side forced only a couple of decent chances. Reds defender Jonny Evans saw his penalty saved in sudden death, allowing Daniel van Buyten to hammer home the winning kick.
While the hosts took the silverware, Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff could take plenty of positives from a stern test, and a sizeable step up in opposition after the Asia Tour and Wednesday's victory over Boca Juniors.
Mindful of the quickfire nature of both Audi Cup matches, Sir Alex named an entirely different XI to that which started against Boca. The Reds, sporting their new black and blue away kit, held the majority of the possession in the early exchanges, with the wise old heads of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes controlling play.
Bayern gradually crept into the game, however, and should have moved ahead after 18 minutes. A loose pass from Patrice Evra allowed Mark van Bommel possession, and the veteran Dutchman advanced before feeding Mario Gomez, who could only thump an effort against the crossbar from 15 yards.
Thomas Muller then fired straight at Edwin van der Sar after finding space behind makeshift right-back Darren Fletcher, before Dimitar Berbatov enjoyed United's first real opening. The Bulgarian had the Allianz Arena gasping as his audacious overhead lob struck the post.
The Reds coped with the tournament hosts far better after the interval, giving Bayern few sights of van der Sar's goal. At the other end, Michael Rensing was increasingly called into action; to rush from his line and block a Michael Owen