With a third Double in the bag, could we go one step further at the Nou Camp? It would have been Sir Matt’s birthday, after all, and maybe it was fate that this was the night a team containing a fair sprinkling of homegrown talent – Gary Neville, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt all started – emulated the days of George Best, Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles, John Aston and company.
It was the 63rd game of a taxing campaign and the FA Cup final at Wembley had been staged on the previous weekend. Yet the Reds were going strong deep into stoppage time, when the chips were down, and everything seemed to be slipping away.
And all this with a reshuffled team due to the suspension of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane. Consequently, Ryan Giggs played on the right with Beckham switched to the middle alongside Butt, and Jesper Blomqvist operating on his favoured left flank.
United did not play well, that is almost universally accepted, and fell behind after only six minutes. Mario Basler’s free-kick deceived Peter Schmeichel and Bayern clearly deserved to be ahead at the interval with Oliver Kahn barely extended in goal.