25 years ago: Bayern's first visit to Old Trafford

Monday 11 December 2023 11:00

It’s crunch time for Manchester United’s 2023/24 Champions League campaign, as we host Bayern Munich in our final Group A fixture on Tuesday (20:00 GMT).

To qualify for the knockout stages, United must beat Bayern and hope the other group match between Copenhagen and Galatasaray finishes level.

Bayern have 13 points and have already been confirmed as winners of the group, while Copenhagen and Galatasaray are tied on five points in second and third respectively, with the former having a slight goal-difference advantage. United are a point further back.

Our exclusive digital collectible to mark Tuesday’s game is now live – grow your Champions League collection by claiming it at collectibles.manutd.com, or see below for more information.

How Bayern prepared for United away


The German champions fell to a shock defeat on Saturday.

This week’s encounter with Bayern comes almost 25 years to the day after our first-ever competitive meeting at Old Trafford with the Bundesliga club.

That evening, 9 December 1998, Alex Ferguson's United crept into the quarter-finals of a competition we would famously go on to win, by virtue of a curious draw in the final group game.

In the opening five games of that 1998/99 campaign, United’s play had been entirely uninhibited, with caution permanently thrown to the wind.

It had yielded only two wins over Brondby, while leads had been squandered against Barcelona twice, plus Bayern in Bavaria, but the Reds’ attacking instincts had captured the imagination of many onlookers and peers around European football.

Prophetically, Bayern poster boy Stefan Effenberg opined ahead of the game: “The best thing would be if both of us went through, then we could meet in the final.”

And so it transpired, ending up a strange 1-1 draw in which the final stages were played at a pedestrian pace when it became clear that both sides were in line to qualify; Bayern as group winners, United as the competition's second-best runners-up behind Real Madrid. 

Hasan Salihamidzic cancelled out Roy Keane’s opener and prompted a jittery air inside Old Trafford, but the news that Lens and Galatasaray were losing midway through the second period was quickly passed from the away dugout to those in the home equivalent, and both United and Bayern recognised that there was little to gain but much to lose from attempts to force the issue at Old Trafford.

"The Munich players were coming up to my team and telling them just to keep the ball in the final few minutes," revealed Ferguson. "In fact, I was aware 10 minutes before the end that as things stood we were through. It was the Germans who were telling us. They always have very good lines of communication. They never got things like that wrong."
Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich Video

Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich

Roy Keane scores as Sir Alex Ferguson's Reds qualify for the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League...


Wednesday 9 December 1998 | Champions League Group D | Attendance: 54,434

Manchester United 1 (Keane 43)
Bayern Munich 1 (Salihamidzic 56)

United: Schmeichel, Brown, G. Neville, Stam, Irwin (Johnsen 46), Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Yorke (Butt 64), Cole. 
Subs not used: van der Gouw, Sheringham, P. Neville, Blomqvist, Berg. 

Bayern: Kahn, Matthaus (Linke 61), Babbel, Kuffour, Strunz, Jeremies, Effenberg, Lizarazu, Salihamidzic, Elber (Jancker 81), Zickler (Basler 81). 
Subs not used: Scheur, Tarnat, Helmer.
Booked: Lizarazu

Man of the Match: Jaap Stam was at his unflappable best, coping with Bayern’s assorted attributes of pace, power and trickery, and looking every inch a rock at the heart of the Reds’ back line. 


Get your free United vs Bayern collectible – unique artwork that unlocks benefits. Just click the image below or head straight to collectibles.manutd.com and follow these steps:


After visiting collectibles.manutd.com, click Sign In, Use Social and finally your choice of Google, Facebook or X (formerly Twitter) account.


Signing in with your chosen social account will create an online wallet where you can store all the matchday tokens you claim throughout 2023/24. How many will you have by the end of the season? Why not challenge your friends and see who can build the biggest collection.


Click this button on the collectibles.manutd.com homepage to find the latest token, and again on the next page to unlock and add it to your digital wallet. Then you're done! But remember, you won't be able to add the Bayern one after full-time, so please click 'Collect Now' before 22:00 GMT.


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