Bastian Schweinsteiger believes Bayern Munich are well equipped to win a Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble this season as he considers a return to football.

Bayern have picked up where they left off in the Bundesliga since the league restarted following a two-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, winning all four games -including a 1-0 victory over title rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Hansi Flick's side sit 10 points clear of Dortmund at the top of the table, and will face Eintracht Frankfurt for a place in the DFB-Pokal final, while they look to be heading for the Champions League quarter-finals after beating Chelsea 3-0 in a one-sided first leg.

With Bayern holding such a large advantage in the Bundesliga, and holders Liverpool having been knocked out of the Champions League, Schweinsteiger thinks his former club have every chance of completing a treble.

"In a European comparison, it is a super team," Schweinsteiger told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. 

"They can win the Champions League, especially since Liverpool has already [been knocked out].

"In the DFB-Pokal you also have a home game against Frankfurt. Even if the home advantage is no longer so great without a spectator, you know your own pitch better."

Schweinsteiger, a treble-winner with Bayern in 2012-13, retired from football in 2019 after two seasons with the Chicago Fire in MLS.

The 35-year-old revealed he is considering a path into coaching, though for now he is content to analyse matches as a TV pundit.

"If something interesting comes up at some point that I enjoy, I'll think about it," he said. "But when I do something, I want to win and get something done.

"It suits me very well to analyse games, after a long career in which I was constantly asked to have more time for the family."

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini revealed he was scared while suffering with coronavirus in March.

Gasperini said he was ill as Atalanta beat Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors at the Mestalla in the Champions League on March 10, when the Serie A side reached the quarter-finals with an 8-4 aggregate victory.

The 62-year-old said he feared for his life as he struggled with COVID-19, which has killed more than 371,000 people worldwide.

"I was scared. The day before the game I was sick, the afternoon of the game worse. The two nights after I slept little," Gasperini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I didn't have a fever, but I felt shattered. Every two minutes an ambulance passed. It seemed to be like a war.

"At night I thought, 'If I go in there, what happens to me? I can't go now, I have so many things to do.' I said it to lighten the mood, but I really thought so."

Gasperini said he also lost his sense of taste, a common symptom of coronavirus.

The former Inter boss said a recent test showed he had coronavirus antibodies, confirmation he battled the illness earlier this year.

"Ten days ago serological tests confirmed that I had COVID-19," Gasperini said.

"I have the antibodies. It doesn't mean that they are now immune."

Serie A is due to resume on June 20, with Gasperini's Atalanta sitting fourth in the table.

Riyad Mahrez believes Manchester City have everything required to win the Champions League.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc globally, halting many leagues and competitions since March, including the Champions League and Premier League, but Algerian winger Mahrez is relishing a return to action.

City stunned Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in February before the postponement.

The Champions League could resume in August and City star Mahrez is confident Pep Guardiola's side can deliver a maiden European crown.

"I think it is a good time to win the Champions League," Mahrez said. "We have the team, we have the manager, we have everything, so it is a good time. I don't know if we are the best, but we are good enough to win it.

"The Champions League is difficult, everyone wants to win it, so it is going to be a big battle."

The Premier League is set to return on June 17, with 92 matches still to be played following the coronavirus crisis.

Defending champions City were second and 25 points adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool, though they had a game in hand.

Mahrez said: "It was a bit long without football, but we adapted and now we are back, so it is good. With the pandemic going on [training at home and doing online sessions with the group] is something we had to respect and now we have come back to training it is very good.

"Step by step we are getting fitter, so it is good. I am excited. It was good to see my team-mates and the coaches again. It was good to train with everyone and we have had very good weather as well!"

He added: "I think we were good [before the break].

"I wouldn't say we were at our peak, but it was good. We are going to train again and come back because it has stopped for everyone, not just us. It is going to take time to come back and be the way we were before, but it is the same for every team."

Babe Ruth knew time was up on his baseball playing career on May 30 in 1935, but his name lives on and many consider him the greatest player to have swung a bat.

Liverpool supporters may look back fondly on memories of 1984 at the Stadio Olimpico, where Joe Fagan's team rocked Roma in the European Cup final.

The brilliant and brute force of Mike Tyson was felt on this day in 1987 by Pinklon Thomas.

And Alastair Cook, the great England opening batsman, made history not once but twice in successive years on this date.

Here is a look at those famous moments in sporting history.

 

1935 – Babe Ruth struck out for the last time

Nothing that happened in his short spell at the Boston Braves could stain his name, yet Ruth's move from the New York Yankees turned out to be an almighty flop. Arriving in February 1935, Ruth – baseball's biggest draw of the era and a player whose name resonates to this day – offered just glimpses of his glory days. On May 25, he thundered three home runs, albeit in a losing cause against Pittsburgh. That feat took his career haul to a then-record 714 homers, and there would be no more, Ruth playing his final game five days later against the Phillies. At the age of 40, out of shape and a shadow of his former self as a player, Ruth called it quits, his retirement announced days later.

1984 - Liverpool stun Roma - in Rome

Liverpool's fourth European Cup, like their fifth 21 years later, came thanks to a penalty shoot-out win against Italian opposition. In 2005, Liverpool had their 'Miracle of Istanbul' against Milan, but in 1984 the English giants had the nerve to beat Roma in Rome, in what was the first shoot-out in a European Cup final. Phil Neal's early strike for Liverpool was matched by Roma's Roberto Pruzzo before half-time and there would be no further goals. Fagan's Liverpool were the team that proved steadiest under pressure in the penalty shoot-out, despite Steve Nicol's early miss. Neal, Graeme Souness and Ian Rush stepped up to score, and after Bruce Grobbelaar's wobbly-legged wind-up routine put off Francesco Graziani, who skied his shot, Alan Kennedy stepped up to fire home and clinch the trophy.

1987 - Tyson takes down Thomas

Thomas was a more-than-useful American heavyweight in the mid-1980s, a fighter who had held the WBC belt before and fancied getting it back. The only problem for Thomas was that Tyson owned the belt, and the latter felt it suited him rather better than it suited Thomas. That theory was put to the test on a Saturday night in Las Vegas, and despite Thomas' jab keeping Tyson busy, trouble was soon brewing for the challenger. A thundering left hook from Tyson had Thomas wobbling in the sixth round and was followed by a flurry of punches that sent the 29-year-old to the canvas. Thomas just about managed to get to his feet but trainer Angelo Dundee stepped in, taking his man out of harm's way, Tyson retaining the WBC and WBA titles.

2015 and 2016 - Cook's England landmarks

Cook, born on Christmas Day in 1984, was the gift that kept on giving for England. Plucked from the county circuit as a prodigy who already had a double century for Essex against Australia, Cook piled on the Test runs for his country, including a ton on his debut in 2006 against India. On this day in 2015, the then-captain Cook passed his Essex mentor Graham Gooch to become England's all-time leading Test run-scorer during an innings of 75 against New Zealand at Headingley. Not content with overtaking Gooch's mark of 8,900 runs, Cook went on to achieve another May 30 feat 12 months later, becoming the first Englishman to tally 10,000 Test runs. He reached that total on the way to England securing a nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street.

It is 52 years since Manchester United beat Benfica to win their first European Cup, while Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game for Philadelphia Phillies on this day in 2010.

English giants United lifted the famous trophy thanks to a couple of goals from Bobby Charlton in a 4-1 win at Wembley – their first of three continental triumphs.

As for Halladay, he retired all 27 of Florida Marlins' batters – striking out 11 – en route to hurling a no-hitter at Sun Life Stadium.

Today is also a meaningful date in the history of the Utah Jazz and Sunrisers Hyderabad, who achieved memorable sporting feats on May 29.

Join us in looking back on some memorable moments from this day in years gone by.


1968 - Man Utd prevail at Wembley

Having progressed through four rounds of two-legged ties to reach the final on English soil, United faced the daunting task of taking on Benfica.

The Portuguese heavyweights had won the competition twice before and boasted all-time great striker Eusebio in their ranks.

But it was Matt Busby's side who took the lead after a goalless first half through Charlton, only for Jaime Graca to equalise for Benfica.

Alex Stepney then produced a big save to deny Eusebio and that proved to be a pivotal moment in the final as George Best, Brian Kidd and Charlton were all on target in extra time.

 

1997 - Stockton sends Jazz to first NBA Finals

More than two decades on, it is still regarded as arguably the biggest moment in Utah's history.

Trailing the Houston Rockets by 10 points with 2:59 left in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, the Jazz went on a 17-4 run that culminated in John Stockton's buzzer-beating three-pointer.

He let fly from 26 feet and found the target to earn the Jazz a dramatic 103-100 victory, setting up a showdown with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

It was the first time Utah had reached the Finals, though it ultimately ended in heartbreak as the Bulls battled to a 90-86 win on home soil.

 

2010 - Halladay's perfect game

Halladay is one of only 23 people to have pitched the perfect game in Major League Baseball history, doing so in style on a steamy night in south Florida.

What makes the achievement all the more incredible, though, is that it came in just his 11th start for the Phillies after being traded by the Toronto Blue Jays.

He needed no more than 12 pitches in any inning except the seventh, throwing 115 in total, 72 for strikes. Of his 11 strikeouts, four came by way of sinkers.

Halladay's perfect pitch came 20 days after the Oakland Athletics' Dallas Braden had done likewise – the shortest span between two perfect games since 1880.

 

2016 - Hyderabad emerge victorious in high-scoring final

With David Warner leading from the front, Hyderabad won their maiden Indian Premier League title with an eight-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Warner top-scored with 69 off 38 balls and Ben Cutting registered an unbeaten 39 off 15 in Hyderabad's 208-7 at Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

The skipper then stepped up by marshalling his bowlers as they held off an onslaught, the hosts finishing just short with their reply of 200-7.

It was the third final Bangalore had lost, having also done so in 2009 and 2011, while Hyderabad reached the final again in 2018 but lost to Chennai Super Kings.

Serie A is ready to return, with Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora having confirmed the league will be able to resume from June 20.

There has been no action in Italy's top flight since March 9 and the league is delicately poised at both ends of the table.

Juventus and Lazio are embroiled in a fascinating title race and, though they are eight points adrift in third, Inter may not consider themselves out of the running just yet due to their game in hand.

There are up to six teams in realistic danger of relegation, while Atalanta and Roma are vying for a spot in the Champions League places.

Here are the key fixtures for each remaining matchday.

 

MD28: Brescia v Genoa

If Brescia, who sit nine points adrift of safety, are to pull off an incredible escape they will need to hit the ground running when play restarts. A home match against Genoa, who are only outside the bottom three on goal difference, is a great opportunity to do just that.

MD29: Atalanta v Napoli, Parma v Hellas Verona

Atalanta and Napoli both have to play five of the other six teams in the top seven before the end of the season, so their meeting could play a big role on their momentum in the final stretch. Parma or Hellas Verona – eighth and ninth respectively – could make a late bid for European football with three points here.

MD30: Juventus v Torino, Napoli v Roma

As Juve attempt to fend off Lazio, their first big fixture comes in the form of the Turin derby on matchday 30. This round of games also sees Champions League-chasing Napoli and Roma go head-to-head at the San Paolo.

MD32: Juventus v Atalanta, Napoli v Milan

Another huge match in Juve's title defence comes against Atalanta, who by this stage will be hoping their Champions League bid is still on. Gennaro Gattuso, meanwhile, will face his former club Milan, who will be looking to cement their place in the European qualification spots.

MD34: Juventus v Lazio

There will be only one place to be on matchday 34, as the two title contenders go head to head. With just four fixtures remaining afterwards, it could be the match that settles the title race.

MD35: Lecce v Brescia, Sampdoria v Genoa

The battle for top-flight survival could take some significant turns in this round of matches. The hopes of Lecce and Brescia, the latter of whom face fellow strugglers SPAL the matchday prior, could hinge on this match, while the Derby della Lanterna will take on greater significance if Samp and Genoa remain in precarious positions by this point.

MD37: Inter v Napoli

The success of Inter's season could well centre on a pair of tricky games to end the campaign. If they are able to mount a late charge for Scudetto glory they will certainly have to work hard to see it through, but if it goes the other way they could end up clinching onto a space in the top four.

MD38: Juventus v Roma, Napoli v Lazio, Atalanta v Inter

As fate would have it, the current top six all play each other on the final day of the season and plenty of drama will surely be on offer. The title, Champions League places and Europa League spots could all be decided on an incredible final day.

Pierino Prati scored a hat-trick as AC Milan won the European Cup in 1969 and Francesco Totti played the final match of his career on this day three years ago.

May 28 will always be a special date in Milan's history, with Prati the hero in a 4-1 defeat of Johan Cruyff's Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu.

A tearful Totti said his goodbyes after 25 years with Roma, fittingly bowing out with a Serie A victory over Genoa and it is 23 years since Borussia Dortmund won the Champions League.

There was also a day to remember for Klay Thompson in 2016, when he set an NBA playoff record for three-pointers in a match to keep the Golden State Warriors' season alive.

 

1969 - Prati punishes Ajax

Real Madrid greats Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano were the only players to score a European Cup final hat-trick until Prati's Madrid masterclass.

The clinical forward was on target with a header, a venomous strike from outside the penalty and an opportunistic finish as the great Cruyff was upstaged.

Angelo Sormani also found the back of the net for the Rossoneri as they lifted the famous trophy for a second time.

Prati, Puskas and Di Stefano remain the only three men to have scored hat-tricks in the biggest match in European football.

 

1997 - Riedle double puts Dortmund in dreamland

Dortmund delivered in their first Champions League final, beating the mighty Juventus 3-1 in Munich.

Germany striker Karl-Heinz Riedle put the Bundesliga side in charge with a quickfire first-half brace, turning in from close range before heading beyond Angelo Peruzzi.

Juve had a goal disallowed before Alessandro Del Piero pulled one back with a sublime backheel.

Dortmund-born substitute Lars Ricken magnificently restored the two-goal cushion with his first touch and there was no way back for Juve as Ottmar Hitzfeld's side celebrated their finest hour at the home of rivals Bayern Munich.

 

2016 - Three and easy on Klay's day

The Golden State Warriors needed their stars to step up when they faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

They had pegged the Thunder's series lead back to 3-2 with a victory two days earlier and had to win again in Oklahoma City in order to force a decider.

It was Thompson who starred to silence the Thunder fans, on target with a playoff record 11 attempts from behind the line and finishing with a 41-point haul.

The defending champions went on to win the final match of the series but went down 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals.

 

2017 – Eternal great Totti finishes on a high note

After a quarter of a century in the famous colours of Roma, the time finally came for Totti to bow out three years ago.

The one-club man was given a magnificent send-off from the fans who watched him captain his boyhood club for as many as 18 years.

Forward Totti, a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, scored 307 goals in 786 games for the Eternal City giants.

Totti came off the bench to a standing ovation in his swansong versus Genoa and Diego Perotti's last-gasp strike snatched a 3-2 victory to secure second spot and a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo's anger in defeat provided a lesson for Bruno Guimaraes, even if the Lyon midfielder missed the opportunity to swap shirts with his idol.

Guimaraes has played just five times for Lyon since his €20million January move from Athletico Paranaense, but the 22-year-old has already made his Champions League bow against Juventus.

The clash gave the Brazilian the chance to face Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Guimaraes came out on top, too, playing the full 90 minutes as Lyon claimed a 1-0 first-leg lead in the last 16, with the return match yet to be played due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ronaldo is "a guy I used to play with on video games", Guimaraes explained to UOL as he recalled an educational experience.

"We talked in the game in Portuguese," the Lyon man said. "He said it was not a foul, and I said it was a foul.

"I was going to ask him to swap shirts with him, but he was kind of angry. He's a guy who doesn't like to lose. This is what we have to take as an example; a guy who has won everything [but] hates to lose.

"I want more and more to have this in my mind, being able to get the good things from these football legends, which is super important."

Discussing his nerves ahead of the match, Guimaraes said: "I was very nervous and slept badly at night because it was my first Champions League game, as a starter and in the last 16.

"But I thought to myself: 'If I want to be a great player, this has to be normal in my life. I have to play well against these guys.'

"I was very focused and I felt like I was playing on the street. Obviously, you are nervous to go on the field and when you are out there you get butterflies.

"But when the ball rolls, everything is normal. It's 11 against 11."

Former Juventus star Angelo Di Livio has been concerned by the absence of the Bianconeri's usual "unique mentality" at times this season, but talisman Cristiano Ronaldo escaped criticism.

With the season suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, Juve are top of Serie A and playing in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Yet Italy's defending champions have not been entirely convincing this term under Maurizio Sarri, sitting just one point clear of Lazio in the league and trailing Lyon 1-0 after the first leg of their European tie.

Di Livio, who was part of the last Juve team to win the Champions League in 1995-96, was troubled by their approach to the Lyon game and does not consider them genuine contenders for Europe's top title.

"Juve are still a long shot from what I have seen this season before COVID," he told Stats Perform News. "They struggled even in Serie A and they have a super Lazio just one point behind them.

"They are at risk in Serie A as much as in the Champions League against Lyon. They have to come from behind, but I didn't like their approach.

"Juventus boast a very unique mentality, we all know that. Whoever plays there knows exactly what to do with aggression, grit and love for the shirt.

"This season they looked a bit prissy, but they still top the league and have a game in hand to topple Lyon."

Di Livio is at least encouraged by Sarri's recent work at the club, although he was bemused by the departure of previous head coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"Not many have understood this change at the helm," he said. "You have to respect a winner.

"I hold Massimiliano Allegri in high esteem because in comparison he looks so similar to Marcello Lippi. He who wins can't be sacked. Allegri was pivotal for that and even for this Juventus.

"Of course, good luck to Sarri, who has finally understood what it means to manage a club that has to win."

Ronaldo, Juve's star man, is a role model for his team-mates, according to Di Livio.

He said: "Cristiano Ronaldo always has to play. You can make him rest once every 15 games. He is admirable and it is proven by all his team-mates who get on so well with him.

"He is a super champion. He leads by example for his working attitude, his lifestyle, never a problem. Hats off."

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe would like to win the Ballon d'Or, but it is not something he is obsessing over.

Mbappe, 21, is widely regarded as one of the world's best players and a future winner of the prestigious individual honour.

But the Ballon d'Or has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have won it 11 times between them since 2008.

Mbappe said it was a prize he would like, but he is in no rush to claim the honour.

"It would be nice to win, but it is not something that keeps me awake at night," the France international told the Mirror.

"I don't think I have to win it next season or the season after. There is no time limit I have put on it.

"Always I will put PSG and the national team as my priority, then if personal honours come from my performances then it is a bonus."

At just 21, Mbappe is already a four-time Ligue 1 winner and a World Cup champion to go with numerous other honours.

But he is yet to win the Champions League and it is a trophy he wants to deliver for PSG.

"To keep on being successful with the national team – next season we have the European Championship and that will be our ambition to be victorious there," Mbappe said.

"It is a big ambition of mine to win the European Cup and to be a part of PSG winning their first European Cup would be very special."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told his Manchester United players he wants them to match the desire and verve of the 1999 treble winners.

The United manager was a Champions League final hero at Camp Nou on May 26, 1999, when his last-gasp strike secured a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.

It sealed a spectacular season for Alex Ferguson's United, who also won the Premier League and FA Cup.

"It's a day that you'll never, ever, ever forget - the celebration at the end and all the build-up to the game and its history and we're proud of it. It was an amazing day for the club," Solskjaer told MUTV when speaking on the 21st anniversary of the match.

"It has been [life-changing] of course. It didn't make me a better player, for sure, but of course I'll always be remembered for scoring that winning goal. And it's just down to luck, but still I'll never get tired of talking about that night.

"The harder you work, the more lucky you get, and as a striker I've never, ever practised that type of finish. That was just instinct, it just happened."

He recalled the moment Teddy Sheringham equalised for United in the first minute of stoppage time, which barely left any time for a winner, yet United found one to break Bayern hearts.

"I thought, 'Fantastic, I’m going to play 30 minutes of extra-time in a Champions League final, I'm going to get a fantastic experience'," Solskjaer, who had come off the bench late in the game, added.

"But then Denis [Irwin] plays a ball in behind, I make a run, and we get a corner, and anything can happen with this bunch of players. They were unbelievable.

"That group and camaraderie and their winning mentality - never give up - that's for me Man United, and that's what we're trying to get back in."

United last won the Premier League in 2013 and they sat fifth in the table when the 2019-20 season was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Anniversaries can feel more poignant when a team might be struggling to match previous levels of success.

The winning goal in 1999 still resonates with Solskjaer, but the Norwegian was fearing a linesman's flag when he prodded home after Sheringham flicked on David Beckham's corner from the left.

“I remember the touch, but more so not being sure if I was offside or onside," he said. "So before I really wanted to celebrate, I needed to check if the flag was up.

"It was an amazing feeling and I clearly remember all the subs coming in and celebrating. Where did they come from? They were quicker than lightning to get there."

Recalling the celebrations when United went on a bus tour of Manchester to mark their success, Solskjaer said: "There was no social distancing, that's for sure."

Alex Ferguson was joined by coaching staff at Manchester United's training base, The Cliff, as normal at 9am on Friday May 28, 1999.

It was like any other pre-season planning meeting, as the men looked ahead to the 1999-2000 campaign over bacon sandwiches and cups of tea.

But, really, it wasn't like any of the planning sessions to have come before for Ferguson and his staff.

Less than 24 hours earlier they had all been on an open-top bus parade around Manchester, showing off an unprecedented treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League to an estimated 700,000 supporters.

The crowning achievement of that treble came the night before the parade, on May 26, 1999 in Barcelona – it was Ferguson's masterpiece, the iconic victory of his association with United.

The Road to Barcelona

United's route to the 1999 Champions League final was by no means straightforward – they were grouped with eventual runners-up Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Brondby, with the Catalans ultimately the one of the three giants to fall before the knockout phase.

A 3-1 aggregate win over Inter followed in the quarter-finals, helped massively by Dwight Yorke's brace in the 2-0 home-leg triumph, before a chaotic showdown with Juventus in the semis.

Ryan Giggs salvaged United a 1-1 draw with an emphatic late strike at Old Trafford in their first meeting, but United appeared to be crashing out in comprehensive fashion when Filippo Inzaghi netted a brace inside the first 11 minutes in Turin – his second taking a wicked deflection off Jaap Stam and looping over Peter Schmeichel.

But a satisfying glancing header from Roy Keane put United back in it, before Yorke's diving header levelled it on the night and gave them the away-goals advantage.

Andy Cole rounded things off late on, tucking in from an acute angle after Yorke had been felled by Angelo Peruzzi. United were in the final for the first time in 31 years.

'That night in Barcelona'

Ferguson stood on the Camp Nou touchline in the build-up to kick-off. He turned back towards the crowd and just stared as a mass of photographers swarmed in front of him.

He was a picture of calm, pure zen, as he gazed into the seemingly endless maw of seats in Barcelona's gigantic stadium. What was going through his mind? Who knows, but the idea of what would unravel before his eyes was surely not in his wildest dreams.

"My lack of vanity precludes me from being gutted about it," Ferguson had said in his pre-match news conference, as he was reminded of the fact rivals and detractors used his previous lack of Champions League success as a stick to beat him with. "I think what I've achieved stands for itself, and I'm lucky to be able to do that. What I've won as a manager – I'm blessed, so why should I look upon failure to win a European Cup as a tragedy for me?"

Anyone suggesting United were already at a disadvantage at kick-off might've had a point, as they were without the suspended Keane and Paul Scholes, and within six minutes Mario Basler's free-kick found its way into the bottom-right corner.

The many chances continued to come and go for a dominant Bayern, who had Samuel Kuffour marshalling Cole expertly. United were fortunate to be only 1-0 down at the break.

"[Ferguson] then said to us, 'This is the European Cup final - some of you may never get here again - make sure when you come in at full-time knowing that you have given your all and left nothing on the pitch'," Cole recalled of his manager's half-time team talk years later.

The Bayern onslaught continued. Mehmet Scholl's delicate chip hit the post and fell into Schmeichel's arms, before a Carsten Jancker overhead kick came back off the crossbar.

"When the chip hit the post, I didn't turn around at first because I knew that was 2-0 – when I saw it hit the post and come straight back to me, I knew we'd win," Schmeichel told UEFA in 2018.

And United duly rallied.

'Football. Bloody hell.'

Teddy Sheringham had been introduced from the bench for Jesper Blomqvist, leaving United with a single central midfielder – Nicky Butt – as David Beckham moved back towards the right and Giggs to the left.

Lothar Matthaus' withdrawal 10 minutes from time, he felt, emboldened United. Soon after, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Cole, leaving Ferguson's men with three up top – they were not about to give up without a final push.

"On the bench, we all thought we'd won. There was nothing to suggest United would score. What followed was unbelievable – it was like watching a horror film," Matthaus reflected.

As United enjoyed a late flurry, a Denis Irwin cross in the 90th minute was deflected behind. The corner could only be cleared as far as Giggs on the edge of the box, and his scuffed shot was turned in by Sheringham in similarly scruffy fashion, sparking scenes of disbelief on both benches – Oliver Kahn's half-hearted offside appeal falling on deaf ears.

Another attack up the left, this time led by Solskjaer, brought a second corner in the third minute of stoppage time.

Another tantalising Beckham delivery was this time met cleanly by a United head, Sheringham glancing it on, and before anyone could work out whether it was heading wide or not, the now iconic sentence was uttered on British commentary: "And Solskjaer has won it!"

With Kuffour getting drawn towards the centre of the box, Solskjaer was left in space and he stuck out his right foot to divert Sheringham's flick-on into the roof of the net.

Even in a match as unpredictable as this, United knew there was no way back for the German champions after two goals in 103 seconds. "All the Bayern players were on the floor - they didn't even want to kick off again. We knew we'd won it," Ferguson's assistant at the time, Steve McLaren, once said to the Daily Mail.

Bayern players, officials and sympathisers weren't shy in their lambasting of United and their luck afterwards – though Ferguson's succinct appraisal of the situation summed it up a little better in a post-match interview with ITV: "Football, bloody hell."

Ferguson's career with United was a truly remarkable success – the longevity, the trophies, the 'Fergie time'.

They all sum up this incredible era for United, and that night in Barcelona will be remembered as Ferguson's magnum opus.

But the defining moment? That came 36 hours later, as Ferguson's unrivalled work ethic had him already planning his next successes when anyone else would have surely been nursing the mother of all hangovers.

Manchester United completed an unprecedented treble in Barcelona and NBA legend Vince Carter was also celebrating on this day 21 years ago.

Bayern Munich were on the brink of winning the Champions League at Camp Nou, but late goals from Teddy Sheringham and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secured a dramatic 2-1 victory for Alex Ferguson's men.

May 26, 1999 is also a date for Carter to reflect on with great memories, as he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, while history was made by India batsmen Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly on the same day.

A decade earlier Arsenal snatched the First Division title from Liverpool at Anfield with a last-gasp strike from Michael Thomas.

 

1989 - Thomas fires Gunners to title

It came down to the final match of the season to decide who would be crowned champions of England 31 years ago.

Liverpool had overtaken the wobbling Gunners to take a three-point lead, but a victory by a margin of two goals or more would be enough for George Graham's side to take the title.

Alan Smith put the London club in front seven minutes into the second half to get the nerves jangling even more on such a tense evening on Merseyside.

Arsenal looked to have fallen just short of winning the First Division for the first time in 18 years, but Thomas surged through from midfield to win it right at the end and Arsenal took the title on goals scored with a stunning 2-0 victory.

 

1999 - Solskjaer leaves Bayern crestfallen in Barcelona

Bayern appeared to have dashed United's hopes of becoming the first team to win the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in the same season.

Mario Basler's early strike put the Bavarian giants in front and that looked to be enough for Ottmar Hitzfeld's well-drilled side to lift the trophy at Camp Nou.

United had almost run out of ideas but with three minutes of added time shown on the fourth official's board, goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel came up for a corner that eventually resulted in Sheringham sweeping home following a scuffed shot from Ryan Giggs.

There was one final twist as Bayern were hit with the sucker punch, Sheringham nodding on another corner and Solskjaer prodding in from close range to spark wild celebrations.

 

1999 - Carter 'not surprised' by Rookie MVP gong

Carter was a revelation in his debut NBA season for the Toronto Raptors.

He averaged 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game, subsequently securing 113 of the 118 first-placed votes to be named the best rookie in the league.

Carter said after learning he had landed the award: "I can't say I'm surprised. But I'm overjoyed."

The Raptors missed out on the playoffs, but Carter gave them plenty of grounds for optimism and he has gone on to become an eight-time NBA All-Star.

 

1999 - Ganguly and Dravid slay Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka bowlers who faced India in a Cricket World Cup contest in Taunton must have had nightmares over this day in Taunton 21 years ago.

It was Dravid and Ganguly who might have given them sleepless nights as they piled on 318 for the second wicket - an ODI record at the time.

The magnificent partnership, now the third-highest for the second wicket in the 50-over format at international level, enabled India to post 373-6 and go on to win by 157 runs.

Ganguly made a sublime 183 off 158 balls and the classy Dravid 145 from 129 deliveries on a painful May day for Sri Lanka.

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde is eyeing LaLiga glory following the coronavirus outbreak.

LaLiga has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though the league is hoping to resume in June.

Madrid were two points behind defending champions and bitter rivals Barcelona through 27 matches at the time of postponement.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc in Spain and across the globe, and Madrid star Valverde told Real Madrid TV: "We must keep on training hard for the rest of the season and hopefully we will win the league.

"I'm looking forward to representing this jersey again and showing why we're here and fighting for the goal of being champions.

"We have to be professional, eat and take good care of ourselves and train together. This is something we can do together, not only the team but the whole country, supporting us and going forward with a lot of strength. We have to train hard and support each other so that we are all ready when the games return."

Madrid had also lost 2-1 to Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before the season came to a halt.

The Champions League could return in August and Uruguayan Valverde added: "We have the desire, the will and the excitement to go back to that game and fight to turn it around in order to qualify. We can never lack drive at this club to go for everything."

 

At half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool appeared out for the count. 

A team that had twice shut out Chelsea to punch their ticket to Istanbul was hurt time and time again by Milan in the first 45 minutes. 

Paolo Maldini had landed a huge early blow – the defender’s goal after 50 seconds setting a new record as the fastest in the final of the tournament – but it was a one-two from Hernan Crespo that had the Reds in serious trouble. 

The striker – on loan from Chelsea – scored a brace before the break, the second of his double a delightfully delicate finish beyond the advancing Jerzy Dudek to reward a sublime throughball from Kaka. 

Referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez spared Liverpool from suffering further punishment by bringing the first half to an end. Saved by the bell, but still 3-0 down to opponents who had kept five clean sheets in six European games since qualifying top of a group that also included Barcelona. 

Yet this was the same Milan who had shipped three against PSV away in the second leg of their semi-final, leaving them to squeeze through on away goals in the end. They had their English rivals in trouble, for sure, yet there was still some fight left in Liverpool yet. 

Rather than using smelling salts to bring them to their senses, Rafael Benitez galvanised his team with a tactical change. Instead of going into survival mode when already so far behind on the scorecard, the Spaniard worked out the best way to get on the attack. 

He still believed. Within 16 minutes of the second half, so too did everyone else.

 

SUBSTITUTION: HAMANN ON, FINNAN OFF 

The first step in dealing with a problem is admitting you have one in the first place. Benitez had gone with a 4-4-1-1 formation from kick-off, springing a surprise by naming Harry Kewell in the XI to work behind lone striker Milan Baros. 

It had not worked. Clearly. With the excellent Kaka afforded time and space to poke and probe, and with Crespo and Andriy Shevchenko willing runners in behind, Liverpool were under-manned in midfield and over-run at the back. 

Benitez responded with a substitution and a switch in shape. Off went the injured Steve Finnan, on came Dietmar Hamann, a surprising absentee from the starting line-up. Having initially been the sacrificial lamb at half-time, Djimi Traore was stopped from getting changed to instead join Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher in a three-man central defence. 

Hamann's introduction was a counter to cope with Kaka. The German would sit next to Xabi Alonso, freeing up Steven Gerrard to affect the game further forward. 

Of course, this could easily have been the footballing equivalent to shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic. Instead, it provided a much-needed platform to produce a six-minute onslaught that suddenly saw Milan the ones teetering on the ropes. 

GOAL! MILAN 3-1 LIVERPOOL (Gerrard, 54) 

Freed from his defensive duties, Gerrard began the recovery by planting one on Milan.

John Arne Riise failed with his first attempt at a cross from Liverpool's left flank, but the second effort picked out his skipper, all alone in a pocket of space inside the penalty area. Socially distanced from any Milan players, Gerrard rose up, flicked his head at the ball and then watched as it drifted beyond Dida and into the far corner of the net.

It was so nearly his last goal for the club – he handed in a transfer request a few months later before deciding against joining up with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea – but was also a notable first; no other Liverpool captain had scored in a European Cup/Champions League final previously. 

GOAL! MILAN 3-2 LIVERPOOL (Smicer, 56) 

Vladimir Smicer was called into action earlier than he might have expected. Kewell's time to vindicate the faith shown in him by the boss spanned just 23 minutes, as an injury cut short his involvement. 

So, Smicer was summoned from the bench to play a part in the biggest game of his Liverpool career – it also happened to be the last.

The Czech, who moved to Bordeaux in the off-season, flattered to deceive in his time with the Reds, yet will forever be remembered fondly for his contribution on Turkish soil. Given possession by Hamann's square pass, he opted to let go a low, right-footed shot that hit the target and caught Dida cold, slipping beyond the goalkeeper. 

GOAL! MILAN 3-3 LIVERPOOL (Alonso, 61) 

The leveller that Milan so nearly avoided. The Serie A side were wide open at this point, rocking and rolling, unable to quite comprehend what was happening to them.

Carragher's zipped-in pass to the feet of Baros allowed the striker to reverse the ball back inside with the simple flick of a boot, sending it into the path of the galloping Gerrard. Gennaro Gattuso could not keep up and, in trying to hold on in the hope of escaping without punishment, pulled an arm to give away a penalty. 

Alonso went low to his left with the spot-kick and while Dida guessed correctly to keep it out, the rebound was lifted into the roof of the goal despite a desperate lunge from Alessandro Nesta. At 23 years and 181 days, Alonso became the youngest player to score in a European Cup/Champions League final for the club. 

From done and dusted to all square; Liverpool had climbed off the canvas, come out swinging and produced the mother of all comebacks.

There was more drama to come of course, including a penalty shoot-out, but the Miracle of Istanbul came to pass thanks to 16 unforgettable second-half minutes.

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