MLS ALL-STAR GAME: Six Degrees Of Thierry - Henry's Multiple Connections to Bayern Munich
New York Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry is expected to play in his fourth MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday when he squares off against German Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich at Providence Park Wednesday night.
While it has been over four years since Henry joined MLS, the connections between the French superstar and the German powerhouse are notable. Here are some examples:
Henry at the club level:
The Guardian has a good roundup of English teams (including Henry’s Arsenal) facing Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League back in 2013. In fact, Arsenal and Bayern Munich squared off twice in the second group stage (2000 and 2001) and once in the two-legged round of 16. Henry scored a trademark goal against the German side in 2000.
While Arsenal went 1-2-1 in these matches, the English club was bounced out of the competition in consecutive years despite Henry’s terrific goal in 2005 at Highbury.
Henry would get his revenge four years later while playing with FC Barcelona, as the eventual champions cruised to a 5-1 aggregate win in the quarterfinals over Bayern Munich. Managed by current Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi tallied the first two goals while Henry completed a four-goal first half in the first leg on April 8, 2009 at the Camp Nou. Current Bayern midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm were on the losing end in that series in a squad managed by current U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Finally, Henry has faced recent 2014 World Cup Golden Glove winner and current Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer before back in April 2008. While Henry did not score, FC Barcelona tallied a 2-0 aggregate win over Neuer’s FC Schalke 04 to knock the German side out of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
Henry on the International Level:
Henry earned 123 caps for his national team and was a teammate with Ribery in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups as well as the 2008 European Championship squads. At the 2008 Euros, Henry, Ribery and France faced the Netherlands in the group stage and fell 4-1 with Henry finding the back of the net in the 71st minute and current Bayern winger Arjen Robben tallying a minute later.
Robben and Henry overlapped when the Dutch midfielder played for Chelsea from 2004-2007 and Real Madrid from 2007-2009. During this time period, there were four Clasicos between Henry’s Barcelona and Robben’s Real Madrid with both teams’ record being 2-2-0. Henry notably scored a brace in a 6-2 rout over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on May 2, 2009 en route to FC Barcelona winning the La Liga title.
Henry at the MLS All-Star Game:
After New York’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over the New England Revolution last Saturday, Henry, the MLS assist leader, voiced his appreciation for this week’s festivities in Portland.
“Usually when you go to the All Star Game, you have a love for those (MLS) guys, you usually compete them, you have a lot of marketing stuff to do as you can imagine,” Henry said. “Like I said, it’s going to be a tough game against Bayern Munich – it won’t be easy. But I think everyone’s looking forward to play there. It’s a great atmosphere, great fans. Every time I played there, it was amazing. They always made it difficult for us and their fans are just brilliant.”
Henry played in the MLS All-Star Game in 2011 against Manchester United at Red Bull Arena, 2012 against Chelsea at PPL Park and 2013 against AS Roma in PPL Park. The Frenchman hasn’t found the back of the net in the midseason classic. Could Wednesday be the day?