Now a coach preparing PSV Eindhoven for Bayern München, Luc Nilis was for one night only the Bundesliga side's tormenter-in-chief. He looks back at "one of the best victories I had at PSV".
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Luc Nilis, now a coach at PSV Eindhoven, recalls the last time the Eredivisie club met their matchday three opponents Bayern München, in the 1999/2000 group stage. PSV had lost away from home six weeks earlier but gained revenge in the south Netherlands, with their Belgian striker inflicting much of the damage.
UEFA.com: What do you remember from the run-up to the last group stage match between PSV and Bayern?
Luc Nilis: I think Bayern were as big a team then as they are today, so for us it was very special to be able to make a name for ourselves in Europe and achieve something special.
UEFA.com: It was a Bayern team full of stars: Lothar Matthäus, Stefan Effenberg and Bixente Lizarazu, who had just won the FIFA World Cup.
Nilis: There was also [Jens] Jeremies, [Roque] Santa Cruz who scored – so many names. It's always a great club to play against; getting the right result just makes it even better.
UEFA.com: Did you really believe you could win against a team of so many stars?
Nilis: Yes, I think you've always got to believe in your own chances. You just know that against a team like that, you've got to be not just 100% but 200%. Everything has to be right on a night like that. We were in good form and there was a great atmosphere too, so the adrenaline was there.
UEFA.com: You'd already lost 2-1 to Bayern in Munich. What did you learn from that game?
Nilis: We weren't played off the park, so we definitely believed in our chances because we almost brought back a point from there. We weren't quite able to do it then, but we'd played well against Bayern and that gave us extra confidence that we could beat them.
UEFA.com: And then the match itself. You were involved in the first goal, giving the assist to Ruud van Nistelrooy. What can you remember about that?
Nilis: I think the ball was passed to Ruud from midfield, maybe by [Mark] Van Bommel. I was making a run and Ruud saw me and played the ball into my path, and at that moment Ruud's defender came towards me; I looked at the goalkeeper and faked a shot but actually passed it to Ruud, who put it in. It was a great one-two.
UEFA.com: Was that typical of the way things worked between you and Ruud, the cooperation between you?
Nilis: That attack said everything about our relationship on the pitch and how we understood each other. It's hard to put it into words, because really the pictures say everything. I think it was a special partnership.
UEFA.com: Did you start to feel you'd let it slip when they made it 1-1?
Nilis: No, not based on the game, because we had it quite under control and weren't giving much away. We still tried to go for the victory and that came when I scored quite a nice goal – my 100th for PSV.
UEFA.com: It was a fantastic goal ...
Nilis: I remember it like it was yesterday, but I remember that Lothar Matthäus, after the match, said I had scored a one-in-a-million goal. I actually would score more like that in my career!
UEFA.com: Can you describe how you felt when the referee blew the final whistle?
Nilis: It was almost like celebrating a trophy, but it was actually just one match in Europe that we'd won against Bayern. Yet it was one of the best victories I had at PSV.