Bayern rematch leaves Ferguson purring

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The Independent Football

While Arsenal look back in anguish to 2006, Manchester United will this week revisit not their own defeat by Barcelona 10 months ago but a Champions' League final that their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, says will never be beaten for drama.

"Nobody will ever win a European Cup like that again," he says of Nou Camp '99. "Every time a team is 1-0 down with three minutes left, they will keep mentioning Manchester United." And, of course, poor Bayern, faces as grey as their shirts after substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer snatched away what would have been a deserved German victory. Ferguson still sympathises: "It was a hard moment for them and crikey, you have to feel for them. I always remember that I went over there the next season to watch Rangers play, there was a separation between the players [room] and directors and guests, and every Bayern player came through and shook my hand. That was very nice."

Eleven years on, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs could still appear, as they did when Bayern extracted revenge of a sort in the 2001 quarter-final. The new heroes for the Germans are the likes of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. "Robben and Ribéry are the ones who have been carrying the banner for them, rescuing them in matches time and time again," Ferguson said. "I think we have the full-backs to cope with it. In these situations you hope they perform well. It's one thing coping with their threat but it's what their participation is when we get the ball; that will be the key for us." Signing for Chelsea in 2004 despite having looked round the Carrington training centre, Robben is the one who got away from United. Their defenders cannot afford to allow him to escape even briefly on Tuesday.