1998/99 Manchester United FC 2-1 FC Bayern München: Report

"This is the greatest moment of my life; I'm struggling to take it all in." Sir Alex Ferguson

1998/99 Manchester United FC 2-1 FC Bayern München: Report
1998/99 Manchester United FC 2-1 FC Bayern München: Report ©UEFA.com

Manchester United FC redefined what never-say-die means under Sir Alex Ferguson. So many times the Red Devils were pronounced dead only for an all too predictable resurrection. But at the Camp Nou in May 1999 they were in the coffin being lowered into the ground when two substitutes conjured up the comeback of comebacks.

It was a cruel blow for an FC Bayern München team who led for 85 minutes following Mario Basler's early free-kick and dominated thereafter. United, sorely missing suspended duo Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, simply could not wrest control in midfield.

The English fans among a crowd of 90,245 began to doubt; Sir Alex did not. He had seen it all before, not least in the semi-finals when his side trailed Juventus 2-0 at the Stadio Delle Alpi, 3-1 on aggregate, before fighting back to win 3-2.

In Barcelona the United manager introduced Teddy Sheringham and then, with nine minutes remaining, Ole Gunnar Solskjær. With the finish line in sight cracks began to appear at both ends, Solskjær going close before Carsten Janker hit the United crossbar with an acrobatic overhead kick. So near, yet so far for Bayern. The red and white ribbons already being attached to the trophy were not destined for them.

The stadium's digital clock showed 90 minutes as United won a corner. In it came and out it was cleared, but only as far as Ryan Giggs who hooked in a weak effort that fell perfectly for Sheringham to divert inside the post. Having scored a late own goal to present Bayern with the first of two draws when these sides met in the group stage it was payback with interest.

Yet Sheringham's work was not done. Two minutes later he rose to glance David Beckham's corner into the path of Solskjær who prodded in to spark delirious celebrations. "This is the greatest moment of my life and I'm struggling to take it all in," Sir Alex said after the game. "I haven't said anything to my players yet. I've just hugged and kissed them. I've slobbered all over them."

Crestfallen Bayern would have to wait – but not for long.