Champions League 2019–20 Final Preview — Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich
More than 450 days after Liverpool won their sixth Champions League trophy in Madrid, it’s time for a new set of hands to lift the trophy this year. The Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon will see either the French capital or the German capital get their hands on the Europe’s biggest footballing competition.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Sunday. Both the sides are undisputed champions of their respective nations for a majority of the last decade or so, and this battle for glory could finally settle the debate about the greatest team in Europe.
This was the first season in probably 20 years that the Parisiens made it to the semi-final of the competition, let alone reaching the final and having a shot at the ultimate prize.
Despite a huge club overhaul which involved changes right from the ownership and investment to the club logo was essentially made for two reasons completely. Achieving a monopoly in the French top flight and ultimately dominate Europe.
In the last decade though, despite investing close to $2 Billion into club infrastructure, managerial changes and player recruitments, the luck never favoured Paris Saint-Germain. In the year 2020, with the world being plagued by an exceptional pandemic, PSG fins themselves competing for the prize they have set out to achieve for a long, long time.
PSG’s competitors though are no stranger to this competition. Bayern Munich — probably a name feared by even the biggest of European giants in the last 60 years.
After missing out on Champions League glory against Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan in 2011 and in their own backyard in 2012 against Chelsea, Bayern finally ousted their German rivals Borussia Dortmund to win the Champions League in 2013. But since then, the dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Lionel Messi’s Barcelona has been way too much for even the mighty Bavarians.
But this season, having built their squad to perfection and probably finalizing a team which could contend for 10 Champions League in the future, Bayern sit one step away from becoming the Champions of Europe on Sunday.
This is a detailed preview to the game which could hand us a new European Champion this weekend.
Road to the final
The French Champions, PSG haven’t had an easy path to glory in this year’s edition of the Champions League. Rather, they surely hadn’t peaked until the dying moments of the tournament which stretches back to earlier this week.
After being in a danger of getting eliminated for 89 minutes against Italian high-scoring club Atalanta, PSG somehow scraped a win by scoring two goals in the space of the last 4 minutes of the game.
Considering their poor display of instability and their next opponent RB Leipzig’s mastery over Atletico Madrid, the semi-final was touted to tend anywhere during the 90 minutes in Portugal.
But the Thiago Silva-led squad proved why their attacking capabilities are feared in the entire Europe as they won the game 3–0 in a convincing ultra-offensive display.
On the other side of Portugal, Bayern created history. After packing their bags in the aftermath of the 4–1 rout of Chelsea in Munich, the giants from Bavaria faced a big test against Lionel Messi’s Barcelona. But fate had other plans.
Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich broke multiple records held for over a century as they beat the Spaniards 8–2 and shocked not only Europe, but the entire world. What a way it was to make it to the semi-final.
In the semi-final though they faced a surprising opponent. Olympique Lyonnais had beaten Manchester City in an outstanding display and proved why their youth team were capable of causing huge upsets.
The inexperience amongst the Lyon youth proved to be the nails in the coffin though as Bayern destroyed them 3–0 to seal their ticket to Lisbon in the epic finale to the pandemic hit season.
Significant team rotations and absentees for the final
Both PSG and Bayern have a huge doubtful name in their ranks which could cause some turmoil on-field on Sunday.
PSG goal-keeper Keylor Navas, who is a 3-time consecutive Champions League winner with Real Madrid, is a major doubt for the clash due to his injury. His backup Sergio Rico was untroubled against Leipzig as PSG dominated the game. But this would not be the case with Bayern, as it is highly likely that the Bundesliga Champions will get a lot of shots on target.
On the other end of the pitch, Bayern’s World-Cup winning centre-back Joreme Boateng limped off the field at half-time against Lyon and his fitness test shall go right down to the wire.
Coming up against an attack like Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria — Boateng would be a huge miss for Hansi Flick.
PSG’s young but established veteran midfielder Marco Veratti is back after injury and he could bolster the squad’s morale just by his presence by leaps and bounds.
There are two major tactical points going into Sunday’s clash of Champions.
Bayern full-back or rather wing-back Alphonso Davies has been the key to most of their attacks this season. With the Canadian winger turned full-back playing much higher on the pitch, PSG will suffer because of their high profile attackers not tracking back.
With this being a matchup between two excellent teams, either of the sides is going to have to defend at some point or the other. Considering Angel Di Maria playing on Alphonso Davies’ wing, the Argentine’s defensive qualities could be really exposed as the winger tracks back to contain the Canadian.
This could prove to be fatal for the French side as their right-back Thilo Kehrer is just fresh off youth football in recent years and lacks the experience of such a big game, coming up against this experienced Bayern side.
On the other end of the pitch, if Jerome Boateng doesn’t make the starting eleven, PSG will be delighted for sure. The world-class and probably Europe’s best front-three lineup of Mbappe, Icardi and Neymar could prove to be hazardous for backup Niklas Sule and might just prove to be the reason why the Germans concede more than what they have in the past few games.
This is a battle of two teams which boast a gargantuan attacking talent — arguably the best in Europe. While PSG scores goals for fun back in France, Bayern are coming into the game having scored 15 goals in their last 3 games — MAMMOTH.
But it would be Bayern’s complete back-line, goal-keeper and midfield which shall prove to be the difference between the two sides.
Both PSG and Bayern Munich will score for sure, and there is nothing that stops this tie from becoming a 5 or 6-goal thriller. But Bayern, being an overall better side which wins most of the individual battles on the field, should be able to beat the Parisiens on Sunday and clinch the title of being the best team in Europe for 2019–2020.