While FC Bayern München credit Manchester United FC with more than the "good chance" Sir Alex Ferguson feels they have, memories of 1999 could spur them on after being paired again.
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Sir Alex Ferguson feels Manchester United FC have a "good chance" of progressing in the UEFA Champions League after drawing FC Bayern München in the last eight, sparking memories of perhaps his finest hour as manager.
The 1999 final has gone down in folklore. Bayern were destined to be crowned European champions for a fourth time, Mario Basler's free-kick seemingly enough, when in added time substitute Teddy Sheringham equalised. The crowd looked at the clock, and were bracing for the extra half-hour when Ole Gunnar Solskjær, another striker brought on late by Sir Alex, prodded in the most dramatic of winners.
"It was a big shock back then," said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who was vice-president at that time. "Since the 1999 final, playing United has always been a big thrill. This duel has history so I'm looking forward to it."
Indeed, in seven meetings with the German side, the Camp Nou triumph remains United's only win. Four matches ended in draws, while twice Bayern prevailed by the odd goal, gaining a measure of revenge by knocking the English team out at the quarter-final stage en route to that belated fourth title in 2001.
"The history of playing Bayern in past European ties tells you it's going to be very difficult for us," said Sir Alex, whose side will be away in the first leg on 30 March with the return eight days later.
"It'll be a fantastic atmosphere in both games. They have a great stadium and a good pitch and we're up against a good experienced team. Hopefully we'll have everyone we need for the game and if we do then we have a good chance."
The Bayern camp have installed United as firm favourites. Yet while there is disagreement over whether a first leg at the Fußball Arena München is negative or not – Mark van Bommel says "too bad we have to start at home"; Rummenigge insists "it's not a disadvantage" – they are confident that with a solid base they can upset the odds.
"At the moment they are a bit better than us, but that's the challenge: to use the small chance we have to reach the semis," said Rummenigge. "We must not concede at home – 1-0 would be good. In United we face a club with a similar approach to Barcelona, but English football suits us better."