The final that been talked as one of the best final. Listed in Top 10 of the best final all the time. Coming back from the brink of defeat to winning the Uefa Champion League. A final that contested by 2 of the best English Team in the past decade. Yes today we are talking about the 1999 UEFA Champion League final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich and 2005 final between Liverpool and AC Milan. The 1999 was held in Nou Camp , Barcelona and 2005 final held in Istanbul Stadium , Turkey. Manchester United need to score 2 goals in 3 minute stoppage time to win the final while Liverpool score 3 times in 6 minutes and won in penalty shootout after losing 3-0 in half time. We will look at the both of these final and may conclude which is the best final.
En Route to Final.
Both had qualified to Champion League without being champion in the domestic competition. Manchester United qualified as a runner up to Arsenal in 1998 season and Liverpool had qualified by finishing 4th in domestic league. Both have qualify to group stage via qualifying round.In 1999 Manchester United was drawn against Barcelona , Bayer Munich and Brondby in the group stage. A group of death indeed. They drew with Barcelona 3-3 home and away in one of the European classic game. They drew also against Bayern Munich and defeat Brondby home and away to qualify to the quarter final against Inter Milan as a runner up. They defeated Inter Milan with Ronaldo and Ivan Zamorano 2 – 0 in Old Trafford and drew with them in San Siro 1 – 1 and qualify to the semifinal against Marcelo Lippi Juventus whom are gunning 4th consecutive final. With Zinedine Zidane , Didier Deschamp, Filippo Inzaghi , and Edgar Davis they are one of the most feared team in Europe at that them. Manchester United drew with 1 – 1 in Old Trafford and defeated them 3-2 in Turin after losing 2-0 in the space of 10 minute in Turin. In the final with formidable Bayern Munich team with Oliver Kahn , Stefan Effenberg and Lothar Matthaus they are losing 1 – 0 with a Mario Basler goal in 5th minute and need to score 2 goals in 3 minute of stoppage time to win the game and shell shocked Bayern player whom dejected , laying in the ground with Sami Kuffour punching the grass in frustration. Referee Pierluigi Colina need to carry the Bayern player to start the game again. This win makes them become the first English Team to win the treble of Premier League and FA Cup.
Liverpool was drawn against Monaca, Deportivo La Coruna and Olympiakos in very straight forward group. But Liverpool was not convincing and need to win in the final against Olym piakos with 3 -1 goal to qualify for the second round. This time the Champion League had been expanded to 32 team and England have 4 representatives in the Champion League this year. In the second round they faced Bayern Leverkusen of German and won 3-1 both home and away. This led to meet Juventus in quarter final and they won 2-1 in Anfied and drew 0-0 in Turin. The opponent in the semifinal is Chelsea under Jose Mourinho whom are very impressive in second and quarter final where they have knocked out Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Liverpool drew at Stamford Bridge 0-0 and won in Anfied 1-0 with ghost goal as Jose Mourinho described. In the final they meet AC Milan and they are losing 3-0 in the halftime and were totally outplayed in first half. In the second half they score 3 in 6 minute and won in penalty shootout. This is their 5 European medal and they have kept the trophy with them and received a Badge of Honor from UEFA due to this.
With Oliver Kahn, Lothar Matthaus , Bixenter Lizarazu, Sami Kuffour, Sfefan Effenbery, Giovani Elber, Cartens Jansker, they are also gunning for the treble after winning the Bundesliga and competing in the final of the German Cup. Lizarazu and Elber is not playing in the final due to career ending knee injury. This team had to eliminate Kaiserslauten and Dynamo Kiev with Andrei Shevchenko and Sergei Rebrov.
With Carlo Ancelotti as a coach, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Kaka, Hernan Crespo and Andrei Shevchecko this Milan was gunning for their 7th European Cup medal. They had eliminated Manchester United in the second round, InterMilan in quarter final and PSV Eindhoven in the semifinal.
LOSS OF PLAYERS.
Manchester United need to break up the midfield quartet of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs due to Keane and Scholes suspended.
For Liverpool they do not have any problem due to suspension or injuries as Steven Gerard, Ditermanr Hamman and Jamie Carragher plays.
Due to Roy Keane and Paul Scholes suspension , Sir Alex Ferguson need to change the midfield with Beckham and Nicky Butt on the center midfield, Ryan Giggs on the right instead of left and Jesper Blomqvist in the left hand side. This had disrupted their normal rhythm and there unable to make any shot on the goal during the game for 80 minute until Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had come and Beckham had moved back to the right. Also the substitution of Lothar Matthaus also had helped as Manchester United have their first shot on target after Beckham had moved to the right and Giggs on the left
Liverpool was outplayed in the first half with Kaka is a menace for them and he had contributed for AC Milan gameplay and also for the 3rd goal. In the second half Liverpool substituted Harry Kewell for Dietmar Hamman and this released Steven Gerard for more attacking position and this had kick started their comeback and also at the sometime stop Kaka from playing his usual game.
ELEMENT OF LUCK
Bayern Munich had hit the post twice during this time with Carsten Janccker and Mehmet Scholl. Overall they had controlled the game and stuffed Manchester United.
A penalty that was saved by Dida but rebound kindly for Xabi Alonso to score the equalizing 3rd goal. Dudek was out of the line several time during the penalty shootout where but the referee did not notice it. Jerzey Dudek also had made an unbelievable save from Shevchenko in dying minute of the second half extra time.
The British media had hyped a lot regarding AC Milan conceded 3 goal but for all the defense prowess Maldini, Nesta, and Jaap Stam was old at the time and they can be tackled with speed and pace. The 2004 quarter final with Deportivo La Coruna where they had conceded 4 goal and knocked out even after winning 4- 1 in San Siro and even in the semi final at 2005 they were nearly knocked out by PSV Eindhoven when they ha equalized 2-2 in aggregate after AC Milan had win in San Siro 2-0.
Without Steven Gerard , Jamie Carragher it is undoubted Liverpool will pull out such win in final against AC Milan. On the hand Manchester United had defeated Bayern Munich without the midfield quarter of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes and they have done it time and time again during that season. The thrilling 3-3 draw with Barcelona where they had equaled Barcelona style of play and go toe to toe with them without parking the bus in Nou Camp, defeating Juventus 3-2 in Turin and earning standing ovation from the Juventus fan in Turin after losing 2-0 half time. Defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the last minute of the FA Cup, going a run of 39 game unbeaten staring on December after losing to Middlesbrough 3-1 , winning the Premier League on the final day of the season against the stern challenge from Arsenal and all of this by playing a beautiful Manchester United style of play.
Liverpool may have comeback from 3-0 down to won it but Manchester United had cemented a legacy and a history making as they had become the first English Team to win the treble that even Liverpool on 70’s and 80’s unable to make it. So Liverpool maybe can be told as the greatest final but for a win that cement legacy and history it is Manchester United win against Bayern Munich that is the best.