With the UEFA Champions League final just hours away, there could hardly have been a better way to whet fans' appetites than the annual Ultimate Champions match.
Bathed in the glorious midday sunshine, the historic Olympiastadion welcomed thousands of fans from the neighbouring UEFA Champions Festival for the 70-minute encounter between a World All-Stars side featuring such legends as Cafu, Patrick Vieira and Zico, and an FC Bayern All-Stars & Friends team including club heroes Paul Breitner, Zé Roberto and Giovane Elber.
A further 320,000 enjoyed the action online as UEFA streamed the match for the first time via UEFA.com and Youtube. A special atmosphere was completed by the hordes of Bayern fans who came to reminisce, returning the ground to its former glory with some vociferous support.
Fans were treated to Usain Bolt doing his signature stance after the Jamaican sprinter had got the game under way and a cool opening goal from Samuel Eto'o, the youngest player on the pitch. Nonetheless it was clear that the old boys had not lost their touch. Bayern's Breitner sprayed some rasping passes in midfield, while former Liverpool FC favourite Steve McManaman linked up well with 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning captain Cafu on the visitors' right flank.
"If you're playing a football match, you never want to lose," said McManaman. "The competitive edge is still there for all the players, without a shadow of a doubt. It's a beautiful day and I'm glad so many people turned out. Coming over from the bad climate of England, the weather certainly helps."
Bayern drew level thanks to a tidy near-post finish from Roy Makaay, who struck twice in Die Roten's final Bundesliga appearance at the Olympiastadion – a 6-3 victory against Bavarian rivals 1. FC Nürnberg back in May 2005.
Munich's favourite Brazilian son Elber then headed Wolfgang Dremmler's side in front, before Breitner spurned the opportunity to extend his side's lead as Edwin van der Sar saved his spot-kick.
"It's great to play here with the 'old men'," said Elber. "A great compliment to UEFA for getting all these players together. It's been good for spectators to see Zico, Patrick Vieira, Eto'o and Cafu. The weather is like in Brazil, it's the big final later and Bayern are in it. What more could you wish for?"
A 'home' win perhaps? It wasn't to be as Predrag Mijatović, with a superb volley on the stroke of half-time, and Frank de Boer struck for the men in blue. If any Bayern fans were concerned the outcome might represent a negative omen for the main event against Chelsea FC later on, they were soon cheered up as Elber and Olaf Thon kicked a whole sack of replica Finale mini-balls into the delighted crowd.
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