Manchester United face Bayern Munich, who have lost just twice in this year’s Bundesliga, a fixture Sir Alex Ferguson called very tough. United are second favourites after being handed a repeat of their famous “football, bloody hell” final of 1999, when they scored twice in the dying moments to pinch the trophy from Bayern. The German side won the tournament two years later however beating Valencia on penalties after defeating United in the last eight.
Both teams saw off Italian opposition in the round of 16, United sweeping aside AC Milan and Bayern scraping past Fiorentina. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is relishing the prospect of locking horns with Bayern but is wary of an under rated side. “The history of playing Bayern in past European ties tells you it’s going to be a very difficult tie for us” he said. “It’ll be a fantastic atmosphere. They have a great stadium and good pitch and we’re up against a good, experienced team”
Germany’s biggest club currently sits top of the Bundesliga though they were twice beaten by Bordeaux in the group stages. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said his side’s draw was tough but attractive. He explained “Manchester are a team who are ranked right at the top. We will have to push ourselves to our limits and possibly even beyond to go through. Manchester are the favourites, but that is where the attraction lies – to try and beat a favourite.”
The winners will be guaranteed to face French opposition in the last four with Lyon taking on Bordeaux in their quarter final. While United’s task is far from easy both a quarter final meeting with Bayern followed by a semi final against one of the two French teams will be eminently winnable.
As the draw has turned out the task for Sir Alex and his men to reach the final for the third year in succession could have been far more difficult.
Lyon v Bordeaux
Bayern Munich v Manchester United
Arsenal v Barcelona
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow
First leg 30/31 March – Second leg 6/7 April
Bayern Munich or Manchester United vs Lyon or Bordeaux
Inter Milan or CSKA Moscow vs Arsenal or Barcelona
First leg 20/21 April – Second leg 27/28 April
How far can United go in these finals?