Bayern Munich and Man United last met on 9 April 2014.
Pep Guardiola’s side ran out 3-1 winners against David Moyes’ outfit, although chicken-botherer Patrice Evra briefly gave the away fans something to cheer about by putting United ahead.
Fast forward four years and only David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia remain from United’s starting XI.
Only De Gea is a certain starter under Jose Mourinho, who picks his defenders from a bingo machine such is the lack of quality they’ve collectively shown this season.
The same can’t be said for Bayern Munich.
Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller remain first-team fixtures in Niko Kovac’s current set-up.
Go back a year to the 2013 Champions League final and you’ll find those same six names in Bayern’s starting XI, while Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski were on the opposite side.
On the face of it, that experience has paid dividends.
Bayern are on a run of six consecutive Bundesliga titles and three consecutive German Super Cups, as well as two German Cups since that night in April.
United, well, United are United.
That clinking you can hear is the sound of Bayern supremos smugly walking around smashing steins together.
But did Bayern ignore the warning signs lighting up Old Trafford?
United’s shortsightedness in not replacing Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra with proven quality left a void too large for those that followed to fill.
Bayern, who are currently nine points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, are now reaching that same critical moment.
Ribery and Robben, with a combined age of 69, remain Bayern’s first-choice wingers while Neuer, Boateng, Javi Martinez, Lewandowski and Hummels are all the wrong side of 30.
Bayern have moved to bring younger players through by signing Niklas Sule, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Renato Sanches, but it remains a worry how few of those signings have established themselves as key first-team players.
The line between experienced and stale is a thin one.
Bayern will always be well placed to snap up the best German talent the Bundesliga has to offer, as was the case with Goretzka, but the club know they can’t, or won’t, compete with the outlandish spending of Man City and PSG.
Hence why gambles are being taken on the likes of 18-year-old Canadian winger Alphonso Davies.
With Ribery and Robben both heading for the exit door and Boateng and Hummels looking like shells of their former selves, those gambles need to pay off.
Winning the arms race for Ajax duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong would be a strong show of intent.
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