Best of the British at Bayern Munich: Alan McInally
As the Bundesliga continues its hibernation, let's take one more trip down memory lane with another look at the "Best of British" in Bavaria at Bayern Munich.
This week we turn our attention to Scottish striker Alan McInally, a robust battering ram of a forward -- rather unoriginally known as "Big Mac."
Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness was clearly developing a penchant for bulldozing British strikers as the 26-year-old McInally made his way to Munich swiftly after Mark Hughes' departure from the club.
McInally's arrival from Aston Villa in the summer of 1989 (for a club-record 1.2 million pounds) also coincided with the long period of isolation from European competition that English clubs faced after the Heysel disaster.
"Rambo" (another great nickname of his) enjoyed a decent first season abroad, making 31 Bundesliga appearances (out of 34), scoring 10 goals as Bayern romped to the title. He notched twice on his debut in the derby against Nuremberg. Further braces followed against Bochum and FC 08 Homburg (remember them?).
The bustling striker also played a prominent role on the biggest club stage, starring in both games against Rangers, Nentori Tirana, and PSV Eindhoven as Bayern marched to the semifinals of the European Cup in 1989-90.
Facing a Milan side boasting greats such as Marco van Basten, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi in the last four, McInally's goal proved futile as Bayern (under trainer Jupp Heynckes) exited after extra time on away goals in the Olympic Stadium.
Buoyed by a standout debut Bundesliga season, the striker naturally made the Scotland 1990 World Cup squad. However, the Ayr-born striker (three goals in eight games) never played for his country again after being made one of the scapegoats for the embarrassing defeat to Costa Rica.
A knee injury totally ravaged the next chapter of his Bayern career, as McInally spent more time playing golf than football. He managed only nine Bundesliga appearances during his final two seasons at the club (just a solitary start) and failed to score in the league.
He did enjoy some success in the European Cup, scoring a late equaliser off the bench as Bayern came from behind to beat Apoel Nicosia 3-2 in the opening round. McInally's final goal for the Reds came in November 1990 in the comfortable 3-0 win in Bulgaria against CSKA Sofia.
Bayern again succumbed at the semifinal stage -- with McInally an unused sub in the first leg. The Reds went out 4-3 on aggregate against eventual winners Red Star Belgrade with skipper and 1990 World Cup winner Klaus Augenthaler scoring at both ends -- including a gut-wrenching last-minute own goal.
McInally and Bayern endured a woeful final campaign, finishing in 10th spot on the back of a whopping 15 defeats. Heynckes was fired in October by his close friend Hoeness. Soren Lerby acted as caretaker manager until March 1992 before former Germany coach Erich Ribbeck took charge. Incidentally, Lerby is now fellow Dane's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's agent.
The Scot made just two substitute appearances in the autumn of 1991, both of which ended in defeat. His final appearance in a red shirt came off the bench, replacing Bruno Labbadia, in a 3-0 home loss to Borussia Dortmund. After leaving Bayern in 1992, McInally tried to battle his way to fitness back home in Scotland with Kilmarnock but had to call it a day. He has gone on to forge a successful career as a media pundit.
Despite that career-altering injury, the Scot fondly recalls his spell with the Reds. He told Sky Sports: "All the time I was playing it was the best football club. If you do well for them they'll look after you every inch of the way. It was a fantastic football club to play for," with his only regret being that he "couldn't do ten years in Munich, rather than just three."
Nevertheless, for many Bayern faithful, the era of McInally at the club, albeit brief, is remembered with fondness.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.