Champions League final: Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich Preview
All the latest news and information ahead of the 2020 Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Lisbon.
Paris Saint-Germain Predicted XI vs Bayern Munich
Navas; Kehrer, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Verratti, Marquinhos, Paredes; Di María, Neymar, Mbappé.
Bayern Munich Predicted XI vs Paris Saint-Germain
Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Goretzka, Thiago Alcántara; Perisic, Müller, Gnabry; Lewandowski.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich Preview
Coming 425 days after the competition’s first qualifying game kicked off last June, the 2019/20 Champions League final pits two of the continent’s finest sides against each other. Both PSG and Bayern Munich have looked imperious throughout the tournament with two of the most exciting attacks in world football and ambitious German coaches looking to follow in Jürgen Klopp’s footsteps by lifting the biggest prize in club football.
Leading PSG into their first ever Champions League final is Thomas Tüchel, who had a tough job on his hands after the club’s disappointing exit to Manchester United in last year’s last-16. European failure has blighted the Parisians in recent seasons despite their domestic domination which has seen them win seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles and pick up four trophies already this season.
They were drawn in a group with Real Madrid and acquitted themselves well, dropping just two points from their six games and securing a famous 3-0 victory over the 13-time European champions. PSG had gained a reputation as big-game bottlers in Europe but a second leg turnaround against Borussia Dortmund and injury time comeback against Atalanta in the quarter-final have helped to dispel that notion.
A comfortable 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig booked their place in the final and showed a new-found maturity in European competition. Neymar has been PSG’s outstanding player of the knock-out stages and he has benefitted from the form of Ángel Di María and the return from injury of Kylian Mbappé in recent weeks. Despite suffering a number of injuries this season the Brazilian has contributed an incredible 31 goals in 26 games and will repay a large chunk of his world record transfer fee if he can deliver European success to Paris. It would be a fitting end to PSG’s 50th anniversary season.
For PSG this is a chance to make history but Bayern’s players will be hoping to replicate the glory of their 2012/13 side who became the first German team to win the Bundesliga, DFB-Polkal and Champions League in the same season. Of that treble-winning side, Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba and Thomas Müller are all likely to start in Lisbon. A combination of that experience and the Bavarian’s red-hot form since head coach Hansi Flick took over makes them slight favourites in the build-up.
Bayern won an eighth consecutive German league title in June but it is in Europe that they have really impressed this season, winning all ten of their Champions League games to date. They have scored an incredible 42 goals in those ten matches to give them the highest goals-per-game record in the history of the competition. They are no flat-track bullies either, 15 of those goals have come in three games against Chelsea and Barcelona, inflicting the Catalans’ heaviest defeat since 1946.
Their two biggest goal threats in the Champions League have been Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry who have scored 15 and nine respectively. Incredibly, those two players have together scored just one fewer goal than PSG’s whole squad have managed.
With such sensational goal-scoring numbers Bayern’s defence is rarely put under too much pressure but it is possible to get behind the Bavarians’ advanced backline with a quick counter-attack. They have conceded twice three times so far this competition and have only kept five clean sheets to PSG’s seven. That is partly a calculated risk that comes with Flick’s decision to play an extremely high defensive line and utilise Alphonso Davies, originally a winger, at left-back. The Canadian’s pace allows him to recover quickly when caught out of position but PSG will look to exploit that area with Mbappé on the break. With two of the finest young players in the world going head-to-head, that match-up could be key to deciding the winner.
Adding an extra layer of significance to the game is the feeling that it could be both Thiago Silva and Thiago Alcántara’s final appearances for their respective clubs. Silva is out of contract this summer and Thiago is believed to be eyeing a move to the Premier League, meaning that both players will be desperate to end their highly successful spells on a positive note.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich: Injuries and Suspensions
With Bayern Munich in such incredible goal-scoring form PSG will need to rely on their goalkeeper at some stage and they will hope that first-choice stopper Keylor Navas is able to start. The three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid was substituted during the win over Atalanta with a hamstring injury but reports suggest that he may be fit to return in place of Sergio Rico.
Marco Veratti is another key player to have missed recent games but after featuring from the bench against Leipzig the Italian should start on Sunday. Idrissa Gueye is still struggling with an injury suffered in training so Marquinhos and Lucas Paredes are Veratti’s most likely partners in the middle.
Bayern have been able to name a largely unchanged side for the knock-out stages and will hope to do the same on Sunday to maintain their momentum. Ivan Perisic took Kingsley Coman’s left-wing spot against Chelsea and looks set to keep his place having combined well with Davies in recent matches.
The only major concern for Bayern was the fitness of Jerome Boateng after being substituted at half-time against Lyon. However Hansi Flick has confirmed that both he and full-back Benjamin Pavard will be available for selection having now recovered from injury. Pavard has not started a Champions League game since the restart but the Frenchman would be a more defensive option at right-back if Flick opts for caution.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich: What the managers said
Thomas Tuchel (Paris Saint-Germain): "We are here to play the final and win it. Obviously it is the biggest challenge of my career. It is difficult to describe my emotions: I am exhausted and happy. We will not do anything special”
Hansi Flick (Bayern Munich): “In the first phase [of the match vs Lyon] we sometimes defended badly. We also had some careless ball losses that we have to clean that up.
“We know that Paris has very fast players. So we’ll have to see that we organize the defence somewhat differently.”
Prediction: After a five-goal Europa League final on Friday all the signs point to another thriller in the Champions League’s showpiece game. Both sides are in great form with two of the most exciting forward lines in Europe going head-to-head. It promises to be a fascinating match with attacks on top; PSG’s incredible individual talent against Bayern’s collective brilliance. Both teams have the ability to beat anyone on their day but Bayern’s big-match experience should be enough to swing the game in their favour. 2-3
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