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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019

The Man United squad looked a LOT different the last time they faced Wolfsburg in Germany

Michael Owen scored a hat-trick for Sir Alex Ferguson’s injury-ravaged side.

Image: Fabian Bimmer/AP/Press Association Images

THERE ARE A number of eerie similarities to all of this.

It’s six years to the day since Manchester United went to Wolfsburg for their final Champions League group game. The permutations were certainly different then – United only needed a point to finish top of a group that also featured CSKA Moscow.

But, just like right now, they were in the midst of an injury crisis with fifteen players missing.

And, just like right now, they had faced West Ham in the Premier League just days before.

Germany Soccer Champions League Michael Owen scores his first goal of the evening. Source: JOERG SARBACH/AP/Press Association Images

Domestically, there was a five-point difference between then and now.

In December 2009, United were in second place with 34 points from 15 games. Currently, they’re in fourth place with 29 points but the massive difference, rather inevitably, is the amount of goals scored.

Six years ago, they had racked up 34. Right now, they’ve managed a dismal 20.

That night in Germany, Thomas Kuszczak was in goal, the centre-back partnership was Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher while Michael Owen led the line up front.

And the former Liverpool striker proved the difference, grabbing his only hat-trick in United colours.

Source: WAZZATV/YouTube

He opened the scoring just before the break though the troublesome Edin Dzeko equalised ten minutes after the restart. But Owen scored twice inside the final ten minutes and United got the job done.

The United squad, in a similar fashion to tonight, was bulked up with a litany of youngsters – Oliver Gill, Matt James, Magnus Eikrem and Cameron Stewart.

Man United team (v Wolfsburg, 8th December 2009)

Tomasz Kuszczak

Ji-Sung Park
Darren Fletcher
Michael Carrick
Patrice Evra

Darron Gibson
Paul Scholes

Danny Welbeck
Michael Owen

Subs: Ben Foster, Antonio Valencia, Gabriel Obertan, Oliver Gill, Matt James, Magnus Eikrem, Cameron Stewart. 

In the round of sixteen, there was a reunion with David Beckham who was then on loan at AC Milan though United powered past them over two legs, winning 7-3 on aggregate.

Their run in the competition came to an end at the quarter-final stage however.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Bayern Munich v Manchester United - Allianz Arena Sir Alex Ferguson and Louis van Gaal exchange words before kick-off in the 2010 Champions League quarter-final first leg between Bayern Munich and Manchester United. Source: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

They lost control of the second-leg against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford, having led 3-0 after 41 minutes. But the Germans scored twice to take the tie on away goals.

They made it all the way to the final that year, before suffering defeat to Inter in the decider.

But with a league and Cup double, it wasn’t a bad debut season for their coach…Louis van Gaal.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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