Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to Camp Nou for the first time since 1999

  • Rob Swan

If Manchester United are to reach the Champions League semi-finals, they’ll need to do it the hard way.

The Red Devils have been drawn to face Barcelona, the team that the bookmakers rate as the second favourites behind Manchester City to lift the European Cup this year, in the quarter-finals.

The first leg will take place at Old Trafford on Wednesday April 10, with the return leg at the Camp Nou scheduled for Tuesday April 16.

The last time United played the Catalan giants in a two-legged tie was back in 2008, when they advanced to the final thanks to a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men held Barça to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou in the first leg, before Paul Scholes’s memorable long-range effort in the second leg sent United through to the final, where they played (and beat) Chelsea in Moscow.

You need to go back another nine years for the last time United played at the Camp Nou – and it wasn’t against Barça.

May 26, 1999, is a date that Man Utd fans will never forget – especially those who were in Barcelona that night for the Champions League final.

Solskjaer wrote his name into United folklore by scoring arguably the most famous goal in the club’s history.

His dramatic stoppage-time winner against Bayern Munich, minutes after Teddy Sheringham had equalised, is surely one of the most replayed goals of the past 20 years.

Opta have revealed that this will be Solskjaer’s first match as a player or manager at the Camp Nou since the 1999 final.

The Norwegian retired in 2007 – a year before United played Barça in the Champions League semi-finals – and hasn’t faced the La Liga behemoths during his managerial career so far.

But that will change next month.

While Barça will head into the tie as the favourites, United fans will believe that anything is possible with Ole at the wheel.

Solskjaer has already produced one minor miracle in the Champions League during his spell in charge of the Red Devils with that dramatic 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain last week.

But beating Lionel Messi and his Barça teammates would arguably be an even more impressive achievement from United’s caretaker manager.

Here are some more stats about the fixture:

– This is the first meeting between the two clubs since the 2011 Champions League final

– Man Utd have never beaten Barcelona away from home in Europe

– Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals against English clubs – more than any other player in the competition

– Man Utd have won just two of their last 15 games against Spanish teams

– Barcelona have won both of their previous Champions League quarter-finals (against Chelsea in 1999-00 and Arsenal in 2009-10) against English teams.

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