Owen Hargreaves

United’s connections with Bayern Munich

Manchester United have enjoyed a long-established connection with German giants Bayern Munich over the years.

From players and managers that have represented both clubs to titanic tussles in Europe, the Reds share many links with the reigning Bundesliga champions.

Ahead of the Reds' pre-season friendly at the Allianz Arena, we round up just five of the many things that spring to mind when we think of Bayern Munich…

For young fans, when you think of players who have turned out for both United and Bayern, two iconic midfielders from recent memory immediately come into your head.

Owen Hargreaves began his professional career at Bayern, where he won four German league titles and the Champions League in 2001 during seven years at the club. Seeking a fresh challenge, the former England international joined United in 2007 and enjoyed a whirlwind debut season, in which he helped the Reds to win the Premier League and Champions League. Unfortunately, Hargreaves’ four-year spell at the club was hampered by injuries and he appeared just 39 times before leaving in 2011.

More recently, Bastian Schweinsteiger became the first German to play for United when arriving at Old Trafford in 2015, following a glittering career at Bayern, in which he won 18 major honours and made 500 appearances in 17 seasons. But the former Germany captain, who is now turning out for Chicago Fire in the MLS in America, played just 35 times in two injury-plagued seasons at United.

It’s easy to forget, however, that Mark Hughes also represented both clubs during his successful 22-year playing career. In between his two spells at United, during which he scored 167 goals in 467 games during his 10 years altogether, the Welsh striker was loaned out by Barcelona to Bayern in 1987/88, scoring seven times in 23 appearances for the German side.

Mark Hughes playing for Bayern Munich in 1987/88.
Hughes turned out for Bayern Munich in 1987/88 before returning for a second spell at United.

The Dutchman has had the honour of managing both clubs in the past decade. The former Ajax midfielder left AZ Alkmaar to become Bayern’s new head coach in the summer of 2009 and guided the German giants to a domestic double in his debut season, winning the Bundesliga and German Cup. The following season, van Gaal won the German Super Cup and led his side to the Champions League final but was sacked after Bayern finished third in the Bundesliga.

After a second spell in charge of the Netherlands national team, he succeeded David Moyes as United’s manager in the summer of 2015 and spent two years at Old Trafford. The highlight of van Gaal’s tenure came in his last match in charge, in which the Reds won the FA Cup at Wembley in May 2016.

Louis van Gaal lifting the FA Cup with United in 2016.
Van Gaal spent two years at both United and Bayern Munich as manager, winning four trophies in total.

United’s last meeting with Bayern came in April 2014, in a Champions League quarter-final second-leg at the Allianz Arena. Despite the evening ultimately ending in disappointment for the Reds, it will be remembered for one of the most stunning goals we’ve seen United score in Europe. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Old Trafford, the Reds took the lead on the night – and in the tie – on 57 minutes with a quite sensational strike.

As Antonio Valencia’s right-wing cross bounced into his path just outside the box, Patrice Evra – who had become something of a prolific scorer in the latter stages of his United career – unleashed a rocket of a half-volley which flew past Manuel Neuer in a flash and into the top corner via the underside of the crossbar. Although United were beaten 3-1 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate, we still haven’t forgotten Evra’s ferocious strike, which will live long in the memory.

Patrice Evra celebrates scoring for United against Bayern Munich in 2014.
Patrice Evra scored a memorable goal on United’s last visit to the Allianz Arena in 2014.
Bayern Munich have provided a supporting shoulder for United following the darkest day in the club’s history, when 23 people – including eight of the Busby Babes – were tragically killed in the Munich Air Disaster on 6 February 1958. To mark this year’s 60th anniversary of the tragedy, around 2,000 fans travelled to Munich and gathered in Manchester Platz, or Manchester Square, for a special memorial service. During the commemorative event, Bayern Munich’s chief executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, gave a moving speech about the Munich Air Disaster, which you can watch below.

Rummenigge's rousing speech about MunichVideo

It’s fair to say that both United and boss Jose Mourinho haven’t fared particularly well against Bayern in Europe down the years. The Reds have won just two of the previous 11 meetings, while Mourinho also has just two wins to his name from six encounters against Bayern with three different clubs – Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

However, both have experienced the feeling of lifting the Champions League trophy as a result of beating the German giants in the final of the competition, which is arguably much better than looking at head-to-head records. Of course, the Reds famously scored twice late on in a 2-1 win over Bayern, which completed an unprecedented Treble for the club in 1999. Meanwhile, Mourinho was also victorious against the Bundesliga outfit as manager of Inter Milan in 2010, as the Italian side won 2-0 in the final in Madrid to be crowned European champions.

When Solskjaer clinched the TrebleVideo