PSG vs Bayern Munich
Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
Sunday, 23-08-2020 @10pm
Ref: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
After a long and frustrating campaign, the 2019/20 Champions League season will finally comes to a close on Sunday, August 23.
The final game which will be played in Lisbon-Portugal, pits French champions PSG against their German counterparts at the Estadio da Luz.
The two sides have without a doubt been the best in the competition this season and deservedly, face-off in the penultimate showpiece of Europe’s premier club competition.
PSG breezed through the group stages with five victories and a draw before holding off German outfit Borussia Dortmund in the last 16. With the two-legged format being scrapped in favour of a single game going into the quarter finals, Thomas Tuchel’s side then took care of Italian side Atalanta before powering past another German opposition in RB Leipzig in the last round.
For Bayern, they have been relentless this season as they have won all of their 9 games in the competition. After a record equaling 18 points in the group, they beat England’s Chelsea in the last 16. They then humiliated Spanish side Barcelona in the quarters. In the semis, French outfits Lyon faced the Bavarian’s wrath in a 3-0 result that saw Hansi Flick’s side seal a finals’ spot.
With a host of attacking talent on show, this promises to be one hell of a thriller in Lisbon.
PSG have the likes of Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria in their ranks while Bayern posses Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller as part of their armory.
Tuchel does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich. On Sunday, the PSG manager will only be without two first-team players in the worst case scenario.
The good news, though, is that Idrissa Gueye and Marco Verratti are both fit and available after the duo trained normally in the lead-up to the game, Tuchel confirmed in his pre-match presser.
Layvin Kurzawa, however, is a doubt due to a thigh injury, while the availability of Keylor Navas also is up in the air, due to his ongoing rehabilitation from the hamstring injury he picked against Atalanta.
However, reports from France claim that the PSG no. 1 has trained normally and without any discomfort. Navas should, therefore, be able to return to the starting lineup, replacing Sergio Rico between the sticks.
As for the four-man defence, there is no looking past the quartet of Thilo Kehrer, Juan Bernat, Presnel Kimpembe and captain Thiago Silva, who will be playing his final game for PSG against Bayern Munich on Sunday. Kehrer might be the weak link Bayern will look to exploit in the PSG backline, with the in-form Serge Gnabry up against him.
In midfield, the key decision will be deciding whether Verratti makes the starting lineup. The Italian international is not fully fit and Tuchel might decide to bolster his options as the game progresses, especially with Gueye available. Gueye should, thus, replace Leandro Paredes, with Marquinhos and Ander Herrera starting alongside him in the middle of the park.
Finally, in attack, Tuchel is likely to stick with the system that worked oh so well last time out. And so, Neymar should start as the false nine once again, with Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe being the two wide men. Mbappe would often be the furthest man forward for PSG, with Neymar and Di Maria providing the creative impetus while also looking for scoring opportunities.
Flick too does not have any new roster issues to contend with ahead of his side’s final fixture of the season. In the Champions League final on Sunday, the Bayern Munich boss will likely have a full-strength squad at his disposal.
Benjamin Pavard is fully fit after recovering from an ankle injury and could be back in the starting line up. Jerome Boateng, though, has been classed as a doubt since sustaining a knock in the semi-final against Lyon.
However, the German international is expected to shrug off the minor complaint in order to pip the likes of Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandes and Javi Martinez to start against PSG. Boateng will have David Alaba for company at the heart of the Bayern Munich defence, with Pavard and Alphonso Davies being the full-back pairing. Captain Manuel Neuer will once again start in goal.
Pavard’s inclusion is a major decision that Flick needs to make because Joshua Kimmich then returns in midfield. The German international’s presence in the middle of the park will be crucial in determining how well Bayern Munich are able to restrict the flow of the PSG moves.
Kimmich should indeed be back in the midfield double pivot, with Leon Goretzka expected to be his partner, meaning Thiago Alcantara drops down to the bench. Thomas Muller will be the advanced midfielder, reprising the no. 10 role and looking to pull the strings higher up the pitch.
Apart from Muller, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski will be the pivotal figures in attack, with Ivan Perisic starting on the right flank while Lewandowski will have Cristiano Ronaldo’s goalscoring record for a single season in sight.
What they are saying
Hansi Flick, Bayern Manager
“It is a special game.
“We have made a huge step forward in terms of our development and the team is ready to give it all and try and win.
“In our games over the last 10 months we’ve always tried to impose our style on the opposition and always played with a high line.
“Ultimately we’ve got results doing that, so we won’t change too much on that score.”
Thomas Tuchel, PSG Manager
“It’s a big challenge but we are also confident.
“We have the feeling of having deserved our place in the final. We are ready to fight.”
Kylian Mbappe, PSG Forward
“This is exactly the reason I joined this club.
“I always said I wanted to write the history of French football. I have another opportunity to do that on Sunday.
“Since I joined we have experienced a number of disappointments, now we’re in the final and that showed I didn’t give up and nor did we give up as a team.”
Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain have met eight times previously, all in the Champions League group stages – PSG have won five of those matches, with Bayern winning the other three, including the most recent game in December 2017. This is PSG’s first ever European Cup/Champions League final, becoming the 41st team to reach the final. The last six teams competing in their first final have all lost, with the last first-time winner being Borussia Dortmund in 1997 against Juventus. Bayern have reached their 11th European Cup/Champions League final, with only Real Madrid playing in more (16). They currently have five titles, the fourth-best tally behind Real Madrid (13), AC Milan (7) and Liverpool (6). PSG have reached only their third major Uefa final, previously doing so in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 Cup Winners’ Cup. Bayern have scored 42 goals in 10 games in this season’s Champions League, with only Barcelona in 1999-2000 scoring more in a single campaign (45), although they played 16 games that season. PSG are the fifth French side to reach a European Cup/Champions League final, and first since Monaco in 2004. Only one of the previous four has been victorious, with Marseille winning 1-0 against AC Milan in the 1993 final. Bayern boss Hansi Flick is only the sixth person to play for and manage the same side in a European Cup/Champions League final, after Miguel Munoz (Real Madrid), Vicente del Bosque (Real Madrid), Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan), Pep Guardiola (Barcelona) and Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid). Flick played in Bayern’s 2-1 defeat in the 1987 final by Porto, and could be the first of the six to lose as both a player and manager at a single club.