26th May 1999 is the day that changed my perspective on football forever. Growing up a soccer fanatic, I have watched anything that set my blood racing like the Champions League final between Manchester United & Bayern Munich. That was football at its finest and I haven’t seen a more dramatic ending to a big game like that to date. On paper, everyone had written off Manchester because they had average players compared to the Munich side boasting of Luthar Matheus, Effenberg and Oliver Khan all in their prime. United had their own stars in Beckham, Giigs but were not that organized a unit like the German side was.
Bayern Munich were and are a big team rich in European history and on that night it was set up to be another master class from the German team but Sir Alex Ferguson had other plans in mind! Taking an early lead through Mario Basler, Bayern Munich was in form control of the fixture with the Germans set for silverware that night. I firmly recall, Luther Matheus cheering his teammates from the touchline ready to get the party started early in the second half. Peter Schmeichel pulled a string of saves for the Red Devils to keep them in contention for the tie and when Teddy Sherringham equalized for them in injury time, the Champagne was effectively put on Ice for the Germans. I remember the stadium go wild after this goal and the shock on the Bayern players’ faces.
30 seconds into that equalizer, Machester United won themselves another corner in injury time and when David Beckham provided it and Ole Gunnar Solsjaker won it for the Reds, all hell broke loose! Unbelievable signs of madness on the pitch from United players began to ensure and I was left shell-shocked on the TV screen as to what had just happened. Manchester United had just won the Champions league in injury time and it doesn’t get any sweeter than that.
Have you had an unforgettable experience? Please share it with our readers.
By Edward Tumwine