Manchester United have 1999 hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge and this year’s final is in Spain… so, do the omens suggest another Champions League triumph 20 years on from that special night against Bayern Munich?
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United face PSG in the Champions League
- Norwegian wants to win the competition as a manager after famous goal in ’99
- Omens appear good for United with Solskjaer at the helm and side in top form
- This year’s final will be also played in Spain, while it’s 20 years since 1999 victory
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his first step into the Champions League as Manchester United manager on Tuesday night, almost 20 years since he scored arguably the competition’s most famous goal.
The Norwegian struck in the third minute of added time in the 1999 final to crush Bayern Munich and hand United only the second European Cup in their history.
It is the moment Solskjaer will be indelibly linked with, but he hopes to create another by leading the current crop all the way to the trophy in Madrid.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United celebrate winning the Champions League in 1999
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now leading United as manager after winning the trophy as a player
Paul Pogba and Co are certainly the form team in Europe, having won 10 of their 11 games under Solskjaer since he replaced Jose Mourinho in December.
But the more superstitious supporters will also point towards the positive omens which suggest Manchester United’s name is already on the cup.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s last-16 encounter with Paris Saint-Germain, Sportsmail takes a look at why Solskjaer’s return to Old Trafford may have a fairytale ending.
Think of Solskjaer and it’s almost impossible not to picture that goal – and the knee slide celebration which followed it – against Bayern Munich in the 1999 final.
He had come off the bench in the 81st minute with United trailing 1-0, but scored with virtually the last kick of the game to complete an incredible comeback.
Fellow substitute Teddy Sheringham had equalised in the first minute of added time, but it was Solskjaer who wrote himself into the history books by instinctively poking home from close range to send much of the Nou Camp wild.
Solskjaer slides on his knees after scoring the winning goal against Bayern Munich in 1999
Now at the helm, the Norwegian is one of only three managers – along with Pep Guardiola and Santiago Solari – to have won the Champions League as a player.
To win the competition as a manager, just six months after arriving, would be an amazing feat, but one which does not appear out of the question after his heroics as a player.
TWENTY YEAR ANNIVERSARY
On May 26 this year, it’ll be the 20th anniversary of that evening in Barcelona, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s men completed the Treble in the most dramatic fashion.
This year’s final takes place on June 1, a little over 20 years since David Beckham and his team-mates celebrated victory on the Nou Camp pitch.
How fitting would it be if they could mark that occasion with another triumph?
Manchester United fans celebrate in the stands at the Nou Camp after a dramatic victory
FINAL IN SPAIN
The 1999 final was played out at the Nou Camp – and this year’s final will also be held in Spain.
Atletico Madrid’s state-of-the-art Wanda Metropolitana stadium has been picked as the host venue, having held international fixtures and last year’s Copa del Rey final.
It might not be a return to the home of Barcelona if United make it all the way to the final, but another trip to Spain is sure to bring back wonderful memories for those who followed the team almost 20 years ago.
Solskjaer shouts with delight as he’s mobbed by his team-mates after scoring the winning goal
FAMILIAR FOES WAITING
United take on PSG in the last-16 of the competition, but there could be some more familiar opponents waiting in the latter knockout rounds.
Juventus – who Ferguson’s side memorably overcame in the semi-finals in 1999 – are still in the competition, and face Atletico Madrid in their bid to reach the last eight.
And there is still a chance of a repeat of the 1999 final itself, with Bayern Munich looking to get past Liverpool and into the quarter-finals.