Prior to Tuesday’s qualifier with Club Brugge, Manchester United’s last European excursion ended in defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.
After Patrice Evra’s sumptuous strike which gave travelling Reds false hope, Bayern ended Man United’s European adventure with a convincing 3-1 win.
United fans were left to lament and ponder over when they could next see their side compete on Europe’s biggest stage.
Now, 16 months later, United were back on the big stage and recorded a 3-1 win of their own against Brugge.
This time around, United’s squad manifested an entirely different appearance. Louis van Gaal‘s XI consisted of just three survivors from the side that started in Munich.
Before Club Brugge, 2015
Before Bayern Munich, 2013
The club has overseen seven arrivals and a whopping 30 departures since that bleak night in Bavaria, an overhaul of unprecedented proportions and one that many supporters thought to be long overdue.
As United’s reconstruction under Van Gaal enters its closing stages, the Dutchman’s current squad possesses raw, youthful talent as well as a clear presence of experience. A promising blend, especially when matched up against the ageing, depleted lineup that was overseen by Moyes.
While the current squad may not be the finished article, it has the unavoidable potential of growing into a menacing outfit, and one that could be a real force in Europe.