5 Memorable Champions League matches


1999 – Manchester United vs Bayern Munich (Finals)

United were trailing 1-0 from the 5th minute. They had won the FA cup and the Premier League and were looking down and dusted against their German opponents. United were sorely missing suspended duo Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, and simply could not wrest control in midfield.  Ferguson introduced Teddy Sheringham and then, with nine minutes remaining, Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The clock showed 90 minutes as United won a corner. In it came and out it was cleared, but only as far as Ryan Giggs who hooked in a weak effort that fell perfectly for Sheringham to divert inside the post. Yet Sheringham's work was not done. Two minutes later he rose to glance David Beckham's corner into the path of Solskjær who prodded in to spark delirious celebrations. Oliver Kahn and the rest of the Munich team were crestfallen. After this remarkable feat, the United boss had a new name "Sir" Alex Ferguson.

2002 – Real Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen (Finals)

Michael Ballack was to play his last match for Leverkusen before joining rivals Bayern Munich. He was in supreme form leading to the finals. The match was evenly poised when Zidane struck a mesmerizing volley to seal the fate of the Germans at the half time mark. This was just the scoring. That day a star was born in the name of Iker Casillas. Real’s first choice keeper Cesar Sanchez had to be replaced due to a leg injury and was replaced by Casillas for the last 15 minutes. The class of saves he produced during his stay under the woodwork, made him immortal for coming years in the Madrid lineup.

2003 - Juventus vs Real Madrid (SF)

The sight of Pavel Nedved kneeling before the Juventus faithful, arms aloft, having just sealed his side's place in the final of the UEFA Champions League final, will long be remembered by those at the Stadio Delle Alpi.  Juve were down 1-2 from the first leg in Madrid. Zidane had returned to the ground he graced 5 years as a player. But a trip to Turin is always intimidating. Trezeguet  opened the scoring for the hosts. Del Piero followed with a delightful goal, twisting and turning through the Madrid defense and firing a low shot past Casillas. Extra time was on the cards, but Buffon had other ideas, diving to his right to keep out Figo's penalty, paving the way for Nedved's bittersweet finale. Zidane's 89th-minute strike was a meagre consolation for the deposed European champions - although it made for a nerve-racking last few moments.


2003 Manchester United vs Real Madrid (QF)

David Beckham was left out of the starting 11 in the second leg at Old Trafford. This was following the famous boot incident which he and Ferguson had in the locker room. United were trailing 3-1 from the first leg in the Bernabeu. Nistelrooy’s one away goal had given them some hope of a comeback. But Ronaldo’s hat-trick had killed the tie for United. At the hour mark United were trailing 3-2 in the match and 6-3 on aggregate. Beckham was brought in. It was one of those trade-mark free kicks which was impossible to save for even a maverick like Casillas who stood still watching the ball sail past him. The English captain scored again in an eventful night and a last appearance from him in United colors in the Champions League.

2005 – Liverpool vs AC Milan (Finals)

Liverpool looked down and dusted in the first half. Trailing 3-0 to AC Milan at half-time in the final, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Liverpool FC, but what followed in Istanbul was a legendary comeback which made the reds five-time European champions. Rafael Benítez's side stormed back in the second half with three goals in seven minutes to set up a dramatic penalty shoot-out triumph. Andriy Shevchenko, scorer of the winning spot-kick in the 2003 final against Juventus, was this time denied by goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek to give Liverpool a famous victory. 

Tomorrow Bayern Munich take on Borussia Dortmund in an all German final. Bayern have missed out on the trophy in the last 3 out of 4 finals. Against United, Inter Milan and last year to Chelsea in their home ground. They are the favourites to lift the trophy tomorrow but Dortmund have proved themselves in every match this year. It's going to be difficult with Goetze being ruled out, but don't be surprised if Dortmund pull off a thriller.