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Treble of 1999

As he prepares to face his former club, relive Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's finest hour for Manchester United.

Last Updated: 28/01/14 at 07:29 Post Comment

"I cannot believe it. I cannot believe it. Football, bloody hell." Sir Alex Ferguson's immortal line after Manchester United's unbelievably late victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final has become a part of the sport's legend.

After injury-time goals from substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who on Tuesday returns to Old Trafford as manager of Cardiff City, sealed one of the most dramatic 2-1 successes in history by cancelling out Mario Basler's sixth minute free-kick, the entire footballing world was left in a state of shock.

Ferguson summed up the feeling of fans around the globe with his words. With an improbable comeback, United had secured the trophy which completed their set of an unprecedented Treble when combined with the Premier League and FA Cup.

The Camp Nou was the scene for what was an astonishing game, which Ottmar Hitzfeld's Bayern dominated for the majority. But with legendary referee Pierluigi Collina and his assistants signalling three minutes of injury time, Bayern were to have their hearts ripped out by Sheringham in the 91st minute and Solskjaer just 120 seconds later.

You are in the middle of it and you are so focused. You never think about the consequences it will have for so many people
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

There were less than 90 seconds of stoppage time remaining when Sheringham scored, tapping in after Bayern had failed to properly clear a David Beckham corner. Then, at another Beckham corner, Sheringham nodded on and baby-faced assassin Solskjaer prodded the ball past Oliver Kahn from close range.

Solskjaer would damage knee ligaments in his skidding celebration and he later reflected: "I cannot remember what I was thinking. I was just sliding, celebrating. Afterwards, I could not understand the impact of it all. You are in the middle of it and you are so focused. You never think about the consequences it will have for so many people."

A United side stripped of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes through suspension but including the likes of captain-for-the-night Peter Schmeichel - who was playing his last game for the club - Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole epitomised their never-say-die attitude. United won just their second European Cup after more than a three decade wait since first lifting the trophy.

Teddy Sheringham: Equalised for United with just 90 seconds of stoppage time remaining

In contrast, Bayern, who had the likes of Lothar Matthaus, Markus Babbel and Stefan Effenberg in their line-up, were left shell-shocked. Samuel Kuffour could be seen crying and hitting the pitch with his hands while striker Carsten Jancker fell to the floor in frustration.

How did we win it? Even now I do not know. It was fate, just fate
Sir Alex Ferguson

Bayern had themselves been on course for a Treble having won the Bundesliga. But they also lost the German Cup final on penalties to Werder Bremen shortly after their Champions League final defeat by United.

Hitzfeld - who had won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund two years earlier, knocking out United in the semi-finals - would admit of the events in Barcelona: "That final was one of the bitterest moments of my career."

But it is Ferguson who would again best describe the magical events of the victory over Bayern, as he said in 2010: "It is the most dramatic moment of my career, definitely. Nobody will ever win a European Cup like that again. Every time a team is 1-0 up with three minutes left, they will keep thinking of Manchester United. How did we win it? Even now I do not know. It was fate, just fate."

Martin's Memories

"The game is obviously very well documented. But what I remember most of all is how long the United players stayed on the pitch to celebrate afterwards, including the suspended Scholes and Keane in their suits. Normally these things are over and done with very quickly and you watch them from on high. But I actually had a pitch pass so I went and stood on the touchline to watch them cavorting in disbelief. It was an astonishing night and it is why we are all football addicts. It will go down as one of the great European nights. But if you talk long and hard to the United players, they know they nicked it. But that does not matter. I was lucky to be there."

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Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

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