The stage is set for an unanticipated yet extraordinarily long season of European football to finally come to an end. This year’s Champions League Final is set to be played between German heavyweights Bayern Munich and French giants Paris Saint-Germain at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal. This edition of the Champions League mini-tournament post restart has been full of twists and drama with both of the finalists equally contributing to it.
Bayern’s Road to the Final:
Bayer Munich, the favorites to win the competition have been completely dominant this season having won every single game (both domestic and Europe) in 2020. They have scored 42 goals in the competition so far, averaging almost 4 goals per game. Their road to the final has been equally dominant having won all of their group stage matches, most notably beating Tottenham 7-2 away. In the knockouts, they managed to easily brush past Chelsea winning 7-1 on aggregate. Bayern’s high pressing attacking style of play has been impressive and is the key to their dominant performances. This was evident in their 8-2 demolition of a Messi-led Barcelona. Bayern is a side that has quality players all over the pitch with no visible weakness in the starting eleven. The emergence of young talents like Alphonso Davies and the rejuvenation of Thomas Muller has massively helped the side whilst the goal scoring form of Lewandowski has made Bayern the best team to watch this season. Despite a shaky start against in the semi-final against Lyon, Bayern eventually showed their quality and outclassed their opponents easily. The strength and confidence with which Bayern Munich have played throughout the season have made them favorites to win the title and complete a convincing treble.
PSG’s Road to the final:
PSG, the underdogs perhaps in this tie have been equally impressive this season. Paris boasts the best attack in the world with the front three of Mbappe, Neymar, and Di Maria impressing this season. Whilst having attacking talents like Icardi, Sarabia, Draxler, and Cavani on the bench, PSG’s attack prowess is endless. Their road to the final has been perhaps not as dominant as Bayern’s but still is equally formidable. They won their group comfortably despite having Real Madrid in it. They demolished Madrid 3-0 at home whilst made an incredible comeback to draw 2-2 in the return fixture. Paris had a tricky challenge in the round of 16 against Dortmund as they made a comeback to win 2-0 at home despite losing the first leg 2-1. PSG made another late comeback in the quarters against Atlanta winning 2-1, although they were much more dominant than their opponents and just not clinical enough. In the semis, Paris seemed way more clinical winning 3-0 against Leipzig comfortably in the end. The return of Di Maria after the suspension was the difference maker as the Argentine playmaker was at his brilliant best in the semis. Defensively Paris has looked solid this season under the leadership of Thiago Silva, who will be playing his last game for the club and would be absolutely determined to bow out with the CL trophy in his hands.
In terms of the matchup, Bayern and PSG are both equally strong teams and will surely make up for an incredibly exciting and high-quality game of football. Bayern’s match against Lyon surely brought out some negatives in the dominant German machine. Bayern plays a high defensive line and Lyon in the first 15 minutes of the game managed to get in behind multiple times but was not clinical enough to score. Bayern’s high line will act as a double-edged sword against Paris, they will surely have huge amounts of dominance but pacey players like Mbappe and Neymar will be able to get in behind easily and create chances easily. Whilst defensively PSG needs to be extremely strong as the likes of Lewandowski, Muller, Gnabry are extremely clinical and will punish any mistakes Paris makes. Neymar will play a huge difference-maker in this tie but he will massively improve his finishing, and the PSG attack, in general, will need to extremely clinical otherwise they will have the same fate as Lyon did who failed to convert their chances. Di Maria on the other hand will have an extremely tough day as he will be asked to defend a lot and cover Alphonso Davies, who likes to get forward and exploit his pace. A big concern for Paris would be their goalkeeper Rico, who would be covering up for the injured Navas. Having only made 8 competitive appearances this season and a disastrous loan spell at Fulham last season, Sergio Rico will have big shoes to fill. In conclusion, despite the dominance by Bayern this season, they also have their weaknesses in the high pressing-high line style of play, which fits in perfectly to PSG’s attacking powers. Attacking Bayern is extremely clinical and will create and score any chance they get. If PSG is to win, they will look to have a strong start and attack Bayern by getting an early goal and put them under pressure. If Bayern is to win, they will continue to play the same style they have been playing all year but defensively, they will need to be a lot more focused. Bayern’s experienced players will play a vital role in deciding the tie.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Kimmich, Thiago, Goretzka, Muller, Gnabry, Lewandowski
Paris Saint-Germain: Rico, Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Marquinhos, Herrera, Verratti, Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe
Predicted score: PSG 2-2 Bayern, Bayern win on penalties
Expect a cracking game of football with a lot of goals as both teams possess quality players all over the pitch. Will PSG’s attack of Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria costing them a combined 415 million Euros help them finally achieve their Champions League goal. Or will the dominant German pressing machine Bayern Munich plow past the French side with ease? Both teams have won their domestic league and cup competition, but which team will complete the treble?