Bayern Munich 3 Manchester United 1 (Bayern Munich win 4-2 on aggregate)
Manchester United failed to reproduce their comeback heroics of 1999 as they crashed out of the Champions League despite a spirited effort at the Allianz Arena.
United fans started dreaming of another Champions League triumph against the Germans when Patrice Evra put the visitors 1-0 up on the night, but the lead lasted just 22 seconds as Bayern claimed a reasonably comfortable win.
The Germans dominated possession for most of the evening and ran out 3-1 winners on the night thanks to goals from Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Muller and the superb Arjen Robben.
David Moyes’ men spent nearly all the first period in their own half as Bayern launched wave after wave of attack.
It would have been so different had Wayne Rooney – playing with a pain-killing injection in his toe – not fluffed two easy chances.
Evra’s sweet half-volley led to raucous celebrations from the United bench, but slack defending allowed Mandzukic to score and it was the same story moments later when Muller beat David de Gea after gaining a yard on Nemanja Vidic.
Then Robben, a constant thorn in Bayern’s side, got the goal he deserved, beating Evra and Vidic for pace before planting the ball into the corner.
Moyes’ game plan, as predicted by opposite number Pep Guardiola, of trying to contain Bayern and hit them on the attack, worked for the best part of an hour thanks to some solid defending.
But in the end Bayern’s class was too much. The fact that the German side could field such a stellar line-up when two of their most prominent players – Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez – were suspended shows how big a gulf remains between these two sides.
It also reinforces just how much Moyes needs to spend to turn his team into world-beaters who belong in the European elite, rather than plucky battlers.
They will not be able to take on the likes of Bayern again next year. This was the last realistic chance they had to qualify for the Champions League and the valiant performance in Bavaria will not put a gloss on what has been a dour season under Moyes.
For the first 10 minutes, United more than held their own. In fact, the small pocket of away fans inside the atmospheric Allianz Arena started to dream of a 1999-style miracle as Rooney took down a long ball from Darren Fletcher and advanced towards goal.
The England striker, showing no sign that his toe injury was hindering him, brushed Dante aside and had a window to shoot, but he dallied, seemingly caught between the idea of firing at goal and squaring to the unmarked Shinji Kagawa. In the end, the delay allowed Philipp Lahm to get back and block the striker’s weak effort.
From then on, it was nearly all Bayern. Robben was a constant menace. His quick feet bamboozled Evra, but the Dutchman’s curling effort flew wide.
A rare break from United ended with Antonio Valencia tapping home from close range, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
For the rest of the half Bayern camped on the edge of the United box. Robben, Franck Ribery, Muller and Mario Gotze toyed with the visitors, flicking the ball across the lush German grass as they tried to find an opening.
They had so much time that Lahm and David Alaba, Bayern’s full-backs, moved into central midfield, allowing Toni Kroos to get forward and join the attack.
Ribery rippled the side-netting with a low shot, Kroos curled just over and Robben slalomed into the box only to be blocked by a wall of United defenders.
Danny Welbeck, Valencia and even Rooney were all required to help out at the back.
A couple of breaks almost came off for United just before the break, but the fact that Bayern had 70 per cent possession by the time the half-time whistle went showed just how dominant they were.
After the break United showed a much more positive attitude. The Bayern defence backed off and Kagawa powered a low shot into Manuel Neuer’s hands – the first time the German had been called into action.
Then the unthinkable happened. United raced away on the counter, stretching the Bayern back four. Valencia whipped over a beautiful ball to the back post and Evra rifled home the sweetest of half-volleys.
Moyes and the entire United coaching staff sprung from the bench in celebration. Evra was mobbed by his team-mates and the Bayern fans fell silent.
Just 22 seconds later it was a different story. United backed off as Bayern went on the attack. Ribery sent over a pinpoint cross and Mandzukic sneaked ahead of Evra to head past David de Gea.
Rooney had a brilliant chance to shut the home crowd up soon after but somehow he fluffed his shot deep inside the Bayern box.
Then with 23 minutes left on the clock, Bayern struck the killer blow. Evra gave Robben the half-yard he needed to fire across the box and Muller swept the ball past De Gea after getting ahead of Vidic.
Moyes brought on Javier Hernandez, hoping the little Mexican could be his Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it was too late.
Robben’s pace proved to be too much for Evra again. The Dutchman skipped past his marker and strode beyond Vidic before planting his finish into the corner, courtesy of a slight deflection off the Serbian, to signal the end of Moyes’ hopes of silverware in his first season.