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Ferdinand and Rooney travel to Bayern
Manchester United have received a Champions League boost after Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand declared themselves fit for travel ahead of Tuesday's quarter-final with Bayern Munich.
The England duo missed Saturday's 4-0 win at Bolton with a bruised foot and groin injury respectively. However, Sir Alex Ferguson expressed confidence that the big-money pair would be available for the first leg encounter and both were among the United party that checked in at Manchester Airport on Monday morning. United are looking for a positive result against the four-times winners to take into the Old Trafford decider next Wednesday.
And for Ryan Giggs at least, the clash will bring back many happy memories of 11 years ago when late goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw United defeat the Germans 2-1 in the final in Barcelona.
"I can't believe it's 11 years ago," said the veteran Welshman. "It was one of the greatest nights of my life and for many fans too, this will bring back a lot of happy memories. "We will settle for the same score as in 1999 too, but hopefully not leaving it as late as we did then."
That night remains the only time in seven encounters United have beaten the German giants. Giggs belief Yet on every occasion, the outcome has been close, including Bayern's quarter-final triumph in 2001, when they won both legs by a single goal. It lends weight to Giggs' belief their next clash is too close to call.
"I am a little bit surprised about our overall record but it has always been tight," he said. "It is usually difficult against German sides, and against the top ones even more so.
"We have won the European Cup three times. They have won it on four occasions so you are talking about two clubs with massive history; full of experience and full of great players so hopefully it's going to be a great spectacle."
Giggs certainly expects it to be different to 1999, not least because Bayern no longer have the same physical characteristics. They are now more reliant on the stealth of Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben, who is rated as an extreme doubt anyway after picking up a calf injury in Bayern's weekend defeat against Stuttgart.
"The team we played against in 1999 was really powerful. It had strength all the way through," said Giggs.
"Now Bayern have a lot of trickery with Ribery and Robben, and some other individual matchwinners. "But our European record in recent times has been good and if we play to the best of our ability we really fancy ourselves."
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