There are no Champions League games this week so I thought it opportune to visit the archive and bring you a classic game from the greatest club competition in the world.
Eleven years ago this week Real Madrid met Bayern Munich for the first of what would be four times that season in the second group stage.
The game was held in the Bernabeu and was between two teams at the peak of their powers – every Champions League Final between 1998 and 2002 featured either Real or Bayern. It is also an interesting time to re-examine Real, it is just prior to the Galacticos era, although there are stars such as Roberto Carlos and Raul there is a Castillan spine to the side.
Real (4-3-3): Casillas, Salgado, Hierro, Karanka, Roberto Carlos, Geremi, Redondo, Guti (McManaman), Raul, Anelka, Morientes (Ogjenovic)
Bayern (3-5-2): Kahn, Babbel (Linke) Matthaus, Kuffour, Salihamidzic, Fink, Effenberg, Scholl (Tarnat), Lizarazu, Sergio, Elber (Santa Cruz)
It is an end to end opening to the first half, with Roberto Carlos going closest when he crashed a long range shot against Oliver Kahn’s crossbar.
Bayern take the lead through a textbook counter attack, breaking swiftly after dispossessing Redondo and putting Memhet Scholl one-on-one with Casillas.
A second is added from a long range Effenberg free kick, before Real pull one back – Raul finding the fram of the goal and Morientes nodding home from the rebound.
Elber backheeled to Thorsten Fink who then rounded off the move that would have Alan Partidge screaming “liquid football” to restore Bayern’s two goal lead at the half.
Real started the second period strongly Carlos crossing on the volley for Raul to head home. 2-3
Effenberg was this time denied by Casillas from another expertly struck free kick, but an unmarked Sergio headed home inside the six yard box from the resulting corner to once more lead by two goals.
Kahn snuffed out a potential Real revival denying Raul by diving full stretch to his top left hand corner. Captain Hierro then headed over from close range when it was easier to hit the target, and Bayern chalked up a famous 4-2 win in Madrid.
This got even better for the Bavarians a week later in the return group match when they went one better and beat Real 4-1 in Lothar Matthaus’ last game for the club.
Unfortunately, from Bayern’s perspective they either peaked too early or showed their hand too much as they lost (3-2 agg) to Real when they met them again in the semi finals.
Real then beat Valencia in the final to clinch a victory that looked very unlikely after the shellacking they received in consecutive weeks.