GERHARD Tremmel will have a score to settle when Swansea City take on Manchester United this Sunday.
The German goalkeeper is a lifelong Bayern Munich fan and still shudders when he thinks back to one meeting between the club he supports and the men from Old Trafford.
In May 1999, one of the most dramatic episodes in United’s history saw them come from a goal down to beat Bayern in the dying minutes of the Champions League final.
The red half of the Camp Nou erupted on that day more than 13 years ago as first Teddy Sheringham and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored in injury time.
But for Tremmel the experience was not so exhilarating.
“I grew up in Munich and played in the youth teams for both Bayern and 1860,” he explained, “but Bayern were the team I supported.
“I remember the 1999 Champions League final — it was horrible.
“I watched the game on television at home and it was shocking for everyone in Munich.
“We actually had one hand on the trophy. It was so painful to lose like that at the end. It would be nice to get a result against Manchester United.”
Tremmel may face competition to start against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men this weekend as Michel Vorm is nearing a return.
The Dutch stopper has been out since injuring his groin in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the end of October.
In his absence Tremmel has impressed, but Vorm has barely put a foot wrong since arriving at the Liberty in the summer of 2011.
“It would be a dream to play against Manchester United,” said Tremmel.
“But in all fairness I’ve played a lot of big games against top teams in the last few weeks. Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea — those experiences will help me.
“I am not afraid of Manchester United. Of course, it is a big story to play against them, but they just have 11 players. They have good players, but so have the other teams.
“We also have a good team so why can’t we get something out of the game?
“We played Manchester City, who have magnificent offensive players, but we only conceded one goal. I believe we will do a great job, especially because we are at home.”
United edged past Swansea at the Liberty last season, with the home contingent later admitting they were a little star-struck at times during the game.
But Swansea are now used to the glamour of the Premier League’s top sides and head into Sunday’s match with their focus on points.
After two consecutive top-flight defeats, Michael Laudrup’s side are determined to get back to winning ways during a festive period that also features games against Reading, Fulham and Aston Villa.
“We were close last season,” added Tremmel.
“They scored early and were well organised in defence.
“They didn’t have to put in much effort to score a goal. They scored early through (Javier) Hernandez and were able to sit back.
“Christmas is coming up and we have important games.
“If we can come through that period with some more points then we can look forward to the rest of the season.
“It’s vital for us to be strong in the next few weeks.”
Swansea winger Wayne Routledge, meantime, is reportedly close to agreeing a contract extension at the Liberty.
And Swansea are said to be one of a number of clubs keeping tabs on 18-year-old Rotherham winger Nicky Walker.
The youngster has just broken into the Millers’ first team but is yet to sign a professional deal.