United, League winners, FA Cup winners, and Internazionale and Juventus eliminators extraordinaire - have undoubtedly improved since those two pre-Christmas Champions' League games, but Bayern Munich have hardly stood still.
They have stormed the Bundesliga (they are 12 points clear with a game to play) and looked ominously impressive when coming back from being 3- 1 down at one stage in the first leg to knock out Dynamo Kiev in the semi-finals.
United will be without key midfielders Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, but any advantage that might have given Bayern is surely be cancelled out by the fact they will be without Giovane Elber, their brilliant Brazilian striker who gave United so many problems in those Champions' League games, and the highly influential French World Cup-winning full-back Bixente Lizarazu.
Bayern may win the midfield but, if both David Beckham and Ryan Giggs are firing down the flanks on the wide expanses of the Nou Camp that edge may be cancelled out.
And Teddy Sheringham's return to top class form in the FA Cup final provides Alex Ferguson with the chance to perm two from four up front with first choices Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole plus understudy Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
C H L S T
Man Utd 11-10 6-5 11-10 11-10 11-10
Draw 11-5 11-5 12-5 2-1 9-4
Bayern Munich 2-1 15-8 15-8 11-5 2-1
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