United's top 10 wins against the Bundesliga
RB Leipzig will become the eighth different German side Manchester United have faced in European competition, when we take on the current Bundesliga league leaders on Wednesday.
It's been almost five years since we played Wolfsburg in our last meeting with a German outfit, but such head-to-heads have been commonplace in the Champions League era, with United's back catalogue versus Bundesliga opposition now stretching to 33 games, 17 of which have been wins.
Prior to the showdown with Julian Nagelsmann's highly rated charges, here are our top 10 victories - you may have some fond memories of these games...
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10. UNITED 2 WOLFSBURG 1 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE, 2015)
Our first-ever meeting with the Wolves, when they were champions of Germany in 2009, had seen us come from a goal down to win, and six years on, history repeated itself as we returned to the Champions League after a season-long hiatus. Daniel Caligiuri’s early effort threatened to spoil the party, but Juan Mata’s penalty and a poacher’s finish from Chris Smalling – after the Spaniard’s exquisite flick – ensured Old Trafford was celebrating at the end.
9. UNITED 2 STUTTGART 0 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE, 2003)
Although both teams had already booked their passports into the last 16, Stuttgart travelled to Manchester top of Group E, having already seen off the Reds 2-1 in Germany. The Swabians boasted Alexander Hleb, Kevin Kuranyi and a young Philipp Lahm in their ranks, but it was two of United’s own big names who would make the difference. Ruud van Nistelrooy nodded us into the lead just before half-time, equalling Denis Law's European goalscoring record in the process, before Ryan Giggs put the result beyond doubt on the hour mark.
8. WOLFSBURG 1 UNITED 3 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE, 2009)
Already through to the knockout stages, United travelled to Lower Saxony to face the Bundesliga champions requiring just a point to secure top spot. Sounds simple, right? Well, the Reds were in the midst of an injury crisis at the time, with Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick forced into roles as makeshift centre-backs. Wayne Rooney was also missing, but his replacement Michael Owen rolled back the years, scoring his first and only treble for the club – the last of which was a sublime 50-yard-run-and-chip – to gift the Reds all three points.
7. BAYER LEVERKUSEN 1 UNITED 2 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE, 2002)
Our elimination by the unfancied Werkself at the semi-final stage in 2002 was a bitter pill to swallow, with Sir Alex denied a mouthwatering final against Real Madrid in his hometown of Glasgow. Five months on, United were back at the BayArena and eager for revenge against a Leverkusen side shorn of generational talent Michael Ballack, who had moved to Bayern Munich during the summer. We’d been wasteful in Germany in that semi-final leg but this time, clad in unfamiliar blue, van Nistelrooy soon put any thoughts of a relapse to bed with a quickly taken double. Future Red Dimitar Berbatov pulled one back late on, but it was job done.
6. BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0 UNITED 5 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE, 2013)
Despite a difficult start to the domestic 2013/14 season, United were making serene progress in Europe when we travelled to the BayArena in late November. Travelling Reds had their fingers crossed for the narrow win which would take us through, against Germany’s second-best side, who were still unbeaten at home, but surely couldn’t have expected this five-star showing. Antonio Valencia, Jonny Evans, Smalling and Nani struck for the Reds, along with an Emir Spahic own goal, but the real star was Rooney, who conjured four assists on the night.
5. UNITED 3 BORUSSIA DORTMUND 2 (EUROPEAN CUP FIRST ROUND FIRST LEG, 1956)
After annihilating Anderlecht 12-0 across two legs of our first-ever continental tie, the Busby Babes welcomed Borussia Dortmund – champions of the Oberliga West, seven years prior to the formation of the Bundesliga – to Maine Road. A Dennis Viollet brace and David Pegg’s strike had the Reds three goals to the good and cruising with just 30 minutes gone, but the wily Germans worked their way back into the tie late on through Helmut Kapitulski and Alfred Preissler. A month later, a goalless draw at BVB’s Rote Erde Stadion would secure Matt’s men a place in the quarter-finals.
4. BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1 UNITED 6 (FAIRS CUP SECOND ROUND FIRST LEG, 1964)
The teams rekindled their rivalry eight years on in the old Fairs Cup, but this time it was a much more convincing scoreline. The Reds simply swarmed the opposition in the Ruhr, with Bobby Charlton gleaning a hat-trick and David Herd, George Best and Denis Law also getting in on the action. As if to prove what an impressive victory this was, a Dortmund side featuring many of the same players, including goalscorer Dieter Kurrat, would go on to win the Cup Winners’ Cup the following season, defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the final.
3. UNITED 4 SCHALKE 1 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL SECOND LEG, 2011)
The Reds romped to a third final in four years in Europe’s premier competition, destroying Ralf Rangnick’s Royal Blues 6-1 on aggregate. Jose Manuel Jurado might have cracked in a stunning away goal for the Germans on the half-hour mark, but earlier strikes from Valencia and Darron Gibson, plus the rarest of braces from Anderson in the second half, ensured Reds were already booking trains down to London for the Wembley final well before the full-time whistle sounded.
2. SCHALKE 0 UNITED 2 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL FIRST LEG, 2011)
A week prior to that Old Trafford shellacking, Sir Alex’s side had put in one of their most dominant showings on the continent to all-but settle the semi-final within 90 minutes. The Germans, who had seen off holders Inter Milan in the previous round, somehow made it to half-time unscathed, largely thanks to the superhuman reflexes of a young Manuel Neuer. But the priceless away goal arrived on 67 minutes when Ryan Giggs poked home from Rooney’s measured through ball, and our no.10 made it two less than three minutes later.
1. UNITED 2 BAYERN MUNICH 1 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL, 1999)
You don’t really need an introduction to this game, do you? The injury-time goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are lasered into the brains of millions of Reds supporters worldwide, whether they were fortunate enough to recall seeing our remarkable turnaround in Barcelona live in the flesh, or not. Sir Alex’s substitutes struck in the nick of time, just when it looked like Mario Basler’s sixth-minute strike would be enough to clinch a fourth European Cup for the Bavarians. Manchester United had reached the promised land – and how good did it feel?
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