Alex Ferguson reveals the tactical change he made to win the 1999 Champions League final

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Football News

It’s the eve of the Champions League final with Real Madrid and Juventus set to do battle in Cardiff on Saturday night.

With so much at stake in domestic football’s biggest game, Champions League finals aren’t always the most interesting spectacle.

However, there are exceptions to the trend.

Two of the most dramatic and remarkable European matches in living memory have been come in the final, both featuring English clubs.

In 2005, Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 before beating AC Milan on penalties. It was incredible but it wasn’t quite as dramatic as what happened six years previously.

Manchester United entered injury time of their 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich trailing since the sixth-minute.

However, a 91st-minute goal from Teddy Sheringham before a 93rd-minute winner from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw the Red Devils lift the biggest prize in club football in the most amazing circumstances.

But it wasn’t luck that saw United turn the game around in the last couple of minutes.

Sir Alex Ferguson had to make do without both Paul Scholes and Roy Keane as they took on a star-studded Munich side.

But the legendary Scottish boss had a trick up his sleeve.

He had noticed something that the German giants did when they were winning and brought on both Sheringham and Solskjaer to capitalise.

Ferguson reveals his tactical change

"In the 1999 final against Bayern, we did really well in terms of how Bayern operated because they always took [Alexander] Zickler and Basler off when they were winning games," Ferguson told UEFA.

"Then they would have a tighter midfield, but it did allow me to play three up. We got a bit of luck on the equalising goal, but from that moment on I knew we were going to win, because Bayern were down on their knees by that time. The impact of scoring so late affected them really badly.

"We had so many last-minute goals in my time that it wasn't an accident. If you're 1-0 or 2-0 down, there's no point in seeing out the game and saying: 'Well, we played well'. You may as well gamble your life away, because it's worth it."

So, maybe ‘Fergie-time’ wasn’t a fluke after all. It was all planned to perfection.

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