United's unique history with Bayern Munich
When the Champions League group-stage draw takes place in October, Bayern Munich will be one of seven clubs in Pot One that Manchester United can be paired against.
This week, we will profile each of those famous clubs and showcase our history with them all, starting with our old friends from Bavaria…
OUR RECORD AGAINST BAYERN
United have played 11 competitive matches against Bayern and, a little surprisingly, the Reds have only won two of those - in the 1999 Champions League final and 2010 quarter-final second leg (although Sir Alex Ferguson's Reds frustratingly lost on the away-goals rule that night). Five of our previous games resulted in draws, including two in the 1998/99 group stage, with the other four being Bayern victories.
Mark Hughes enjoyed a successful loan spell with Bayern during the 1987/88 season, just before he returned to United from Barcelona. Owen Hargreaves moved from Munich to Manchester in 2008 and that path was replicated in 2015, when German hero Bastian Schweinsteiger became a Red.
A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
As an opponent, Bayern have always shown great class and that was never more evident than at the Nou Camp in 1999, when the Germans handled their devastating defeat with admirable character. They even agreed to a Legends rematch in 2019 at Old Trafford to raise money for the Manchester United Foundation.
The city of Munich is also synonymous with the darkest hour in United history following the 1958 Air Disaster and Bayern have always been respectful of that. When a 60-year anniversary event was held there in 2018, club legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke emotionally about the impact of that event. “The relationship between the two clubs is, and always has been, marked by a deep and mutual respect, and a genuine friendship that has lasted until the present day,” he told supporters.
Munich lifted their sixth European Cup on Sunday night with a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Portugal and that completed a sensational Treble, following their Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal successes. They have now won the league eight years in a row and hope to make it nine in 2020/21.
THEIR STAR PLAYER
Bayern’s squad has been reshaped in recent seasons, but it is hard to look past star striker Robert Lewandowski as their best and most influential player. The Poland international scored 55 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions and that incredible tally included 15 in the Champions League, which places him fourth on the all-time goals list - behind Real Madrid stalwart Raul (71), Barcelona icon Lionel Messi (115) and United legend Cristiano Ronaldo (130).
United were knocked of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage in 2014 after losing 3-1 in Germany, which was obviously disappointing – although the game conjures special memories for Patrice Evra, who scored a stunning goal that had a deep, emotional impact.
“It's a crazy story about that goal, because I remember the day before – because I'm really attached to the history of the club – we went to where the Busby Babes’ plane crashed,” explains Evra. “We went exactly where it crashed, the memorial. We went there and I remember I prayed a lot and I went back to my room and I always pray in the morning and pray in the evening, to give thanks to be alive and that everyone is alive and okay – not to play a good game or to score a goal.
“I was just speaking to myself and I said: ‘I hope tomorrow I will play a good game for the Busby Babes. I dedicate my game for the Busby Babes.’ That's when I scored that goal, I always dedicate that goal to them, because they scored that goal, not me. It was so special.
“But then they [Bayern] scored a goal and it was a massive disappointment, but I was like: wow, the connection was so strong with this club, that even when I asked something, it happened. I didn't ask to play a good game, I didn’t ask to score that goal. But I really played this game for the Busby Babes and not to be qualified, not to win against Bayern Munich. I said, 'Patrice, play that game. I want the Busby Babes to see you from up in the sky and be proud of you'.”