The draw for the Champions League last 16 has been made for the 2018/19 campaign, and it has paired three of the English teams with a trio of German opponents.
Liverpool vs Bayern Munich is the obvious highlight – a tie which promises so much, while Manchester City and Tottenham will have their work cut out as they take on Schalke and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
We all remember the classic England vs Germany fixtures: the final of World Cup 1966, German revenge at Italia ’90, the Three Lions’ 5-1 mauling in Munich and second round clash at World Cup; the game which featured Frank Lampard’s ‘goal that never was’.
It’s the passion and the intensity of the rivalry that stokes the fire, and the contrast in style between these two very different nations, football wise, that generates such excitement whenever they meet.
Happily, that kind of feeling also extends to Champions League meetings between representatives of the pair, and so we thought we’d compile a list of some of the best European encounters that have helped to maintain the classic England vs Germany enmity.
Baby-Faced Assassin Fires United to Glory: Man Utd vs Bayern Munich (1998/99)
This game will always be remembered for its ending, rather than the preceding 90 minutes.
And so it has largely been forgotten that Bayern Munich put Manchester United to the sword in the final of the 1998/99 Champions League.
They took an early lead through Mario Basler’s fantastic free kick that left Peter Schmeichel unmoved.
But unlike many German sides, who at this point might have decided to park the bus, Bayern went on the attack and laid siege on the United goal.
They hit the woodwork twice, but couldn’t find the killer goal to put Sir Alex Ferguson’s men away.
And in an era of classic ‘Fergie time’, where hour of injury time were seemingly conjured up from nowhere, the Red Devils once again went to work.
In the 91st minute, Ryan Giggs’ mistimed shot found its way through to Teddy Sheringham, who prodded home.
In the 93rd minute, Sheringham climbed highest to nod a corner across goal and into the path of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who nudged home.
In the space of three injury time minutes, United had gone from valiant losers to claiming the third leg of an outstanding treble.
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold: Bayern Munich vs Man Utd (2009/10)
Bayern only had to wait two more seasons to gain revenge over United in the 2000/01 Champions League where they won both legs of the quarter finals.
Another encounter came more than a decade after the Nou Camp final in the form of a see-saw Champions League fixture, again at the quarter final stage, during the 2009/10 campaign.
United had breezed past AC Milan in the last 16, and they were expected to put a Bayern side to the sword that had needed away goals to see off Fiorentina at the same stage.
And when Wayne Rooney put the Red Devils one-up inside two minutes at the Allianz Area, such predictions looked set to be proven correct.
But the German champions fought back with goals from Franck Ribery and an injury-time (delicious ironies) strike from Ivica Olic. The scene was set for a titanic second leg at Old Trafford.
United tore out of the blocks and rattled up a three-goal lead inside 41 minutes courtesy of Darron Gibson (remember him!?) and a brace from Nani.
So Fergie’s men led 4-2 on aggregate with an away goal to boot. They couldn’t be caught now, could they?
Olic’s goal just before half-time put the cat amongst the pigeons, and after Rafael was sent off United’s worst fears were confirmed in the second period when Arjen Robben popped up to net an agonising away goal winner that sent shockwaves through the Old Trafford faithful.
Bayern went on to reach the final, where they lost out 0-2 to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
Rule Brittania! Liverpool vs Borussia M’gladbach (1976-77)
For a number of years, the Champions League – or the European Cup as it was known back then – was dominated by sides from continental Europe.
Dutch dominance came courtesy of Feyenoord and Ajax (x3) sharing the trophy between 1969 and 1973.
And then the Bayern Munich era began: they won three consecutive European Cup titles between 1974 and 1976.
A change was needed, and that came courtesy of Bob Paisley’s fantastic Liverpool side.
Not content with winning the English First Division, they took their swagger into European competition too, reaching the European Cup final where they met Borussia M’gladbach at the Stadio Olimpico.
Terry McDermott’s first half strike was cancelled out by Allan Simonsen, but further goals from Tommy Smith and Phil Neale were enough to secure Liverpool’s first ever European Cup victory.
The Reds became the first English side in a decade to be crowned the continent’s best.
Drogba On the Spot in the Lion’s Den: Chelsea vs Bayern Munich (2011/12)
Winning the Champions League is an incredible achievement for any football team.
But to do so having played the final at your opponent’s home ground is a herculean effort that will live on in the beautiful game’s jam-packed legacy.
Bayern Munich, as if they needed any further motivation, knew that the 2011/12 Champions League final was to be played at their Allianz Arena home.
That little spark proved to be the catalyst for a run to the final, having demolished Basel and Marseille in the knockout phase before beating Real Madrid on penalties in the last four.
As for Chelsea, things were rather less straightforward, with backs-to-the-wall wins against Napoli and Barcelona securing their spot in the final.
But they wouldn’t have the temerity to lift the trophy on German soil, would they?
Some 82 minutes of minimal action passed by, and viewers were already preparing themselves to stick the kettle on prior to extra time starting.
But then Thomas Muller popped up with a late goal to break Chelsea hearts and send the home supporters into raptures.
Lesser men would have given up the ghost, but that Chelsea vintage was made of stern stuff and Didier Drogba, cometh the hour, cometh the man, found a path to goal from Juan Mata’s corner to force extra time.
A pulsating 30 minutes saw Arjen Robben miss a penalty and both sides have chances to get the job done, but they could not be separated and the dreaded penalty shootout was required.
Disaster! Mata missed his spot kick and it looked as though Bayern would finally get home.
But Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger lost their nerve, and it was down to that man Drogba to secure Chelsea a slice of European history.
He duly obliged, and the Blues had won their one and only Champions League title.
The Game That Never Was: Leeds vs Stuttgart (1992/93)
Ah Leeds United. Forget the doldrums that the club has found themselves in for the past decade or so, once upon a time they were the best in the land: as proven by the fact they won the First Division title – the last prior to the Premier League rebranding – in 1991/92.
That earned them a spot in the Champions League the following season, and in a different format to what we know today the Yorkshiremen were drawn against Stuttgart in the first round.
Excitement abounded for a rare European tour for the Leeds faithful, although they can be forgiven for feeling glum after being trounced 0-3 by Die Roten at the Neckarstadion.
However, feelings of disappointment were quickly extinguished in the second leg a fortnight later, as first-half goals from Gary Speed and Gary McAllister got Howard Wilkinson’s men back in the tie.
A Stuttgart goal appeared to put the tie to bed, but Leeds roared back in front of a packed Elland Road with further strikes from Eric Cantona and Lee Chapman.
However, they couldn’t find one more, and so Stuttgart went through on the away goals rule after the 4-4 aggregate draw.
Well, that was the idea, anyway.
Back in those days, teams were only allowed to field three non-European players, and the Germans exceeded that quota when they introduced the Yugoslavian Jovo Simanic off the substitutes’ bench.
UEFA found Stuttgart in breach of the law, and so awarded the second leg to Leeds 3-0; a result which meant the aggregate scores were now level.
And so a ‘replay’ was held at Barcelona’s Nou Camp, and this again was a well-contested affair.
But in the end, a late goal from Carl Shutt was enough to steal the win for the Yorkshire outfit, who would go on to be beaten by Rangers in the next round.