Champions League: PSG and Bayern close in on historic treble
The winner of Sunday’s final will have lifted every trophy that they entered this season, becoming one of few sides to win a continental treble.
Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich will go head-to-head in the Champions League final after picking up a clean sweep of victories in their domestic competitions. PSG won the 2019/20 Ligue 1 title, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, as well as the season-opening Trophée des Champions last August. They face a Bayern Munich side who lifted the Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal in head coach Hansi Flick’s first season in charge.
Both sides have cleaned up in their respective countries and know that victory on Saturday would give them a historic treble of the league, the domestic cup and the European cup. It is a feat that has only been achieved eight times in the 65-year history of the Champions League or European Cup, but one that is becoming more common.
For the first 50 years of European competition it was a once-a-decade event, with Celtic (1966/67), Ajax (1971/72), PSV Eindhoven (1987/88) and Manchester United (1998/99) the only teams to dominate in all three major competitions. However in recent seasons it has happened more frequently and the 2020 final will be the fourth in the last 12 years to see a team achieve a treble.
Barcelona are the only club to have done the treble twice (2008/09 and 2014/15), while Inter Milan (2009/10) and Bayern Munich (2012/13) have managed it once in recent years. Victory on Sunday for the Bavarians would give them a record-equalling second continental treble, with the likes of Manuel Neuer, Jerôme Boateng, David Alaba and Thomas Müller potentially involved in both successes.
Speaking ahead of the match with PSG, Neuer claimed that this current side is better than the 2012/13 group who finished 25 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on their way to the treble.
"We are better positioned across the board," said the Bayern captain. "Now we have a class that not only includes the 18-man squad, it is fantastic what a great team we have."
"We always have a plan. You can see the result on the pitch."
‘Superclubs’ increasingly dominant across Europe
What was a rare achievement is now happening at a rate of once every three seasons with top European clubs now enjoying a period of prolonged success in their domestic leagues. Bayern won their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title this year and PSG have lifted seven of the last eight French championships. In Italy, Juventus have won nine back-to-back titles while Barcelona have won eight of the last 12 La Liga campaigns, finishing second in the other four.
With the greater financial resources available to PSG and the pulling power that Bayern possess when acquiring their rivals’ players, both sides have grown to dominate their domestic leagues and built teams that are amongst the very best in world football.
Victory for PSG would give them a fifth piece of silverware in a sensational 2019/20 season under Thomas Tuchel. They could become only the second team in history to win a quadruple of European Cup, domestic league, domestic cup and league cup, after Celtic in 1966/67.
It will be their last chance to do so after the French football league (LFP) decided to scrap the Coupe de la Ligue to reduce fixture congestion. That leaves just England and Portugal as the only top European football nations to play a second domestic cup competition.