The Champions League finalists are confirmed! It will be a clash of the titans between German champions Bayern Munich and French champions Paris Saint-Germain, also known as PSG. Bayern Munich continued to steamroll through the tournament, although the 3-0 victory over Lyon was closer than it looked. Meanwhile, PSG grabbed an early lead against RB Leipzig and never gave it back, advancing to the team’s first ever Champions League final. Who will be able to win the match, as well as Europe’s ultimate trophy?
PSG are probably one of the most popular teams in the world, despite never achieving much Champions League success. This is mainly due to the team’s rich Qatari owners, who have used their vast funds to bring in the likes of David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Kylian Mbappe, Gianluigi Buffon, and Neymar Jr. to the French capital at some point in their careers, but it helps that PSG have dominated the French Ligue 1. In the past ten seasons, have finished in the top four ten times and won the league seven times.
This year, despite a strong squad, PSG have struggled at times against Champions League opponents. They succeeded in winning Group A of the Champions League and were drawn up against Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16. In what would be one of the last Champions League games played in front of fans, PSG lost 2-1 in Dortmund thanks to a brace from Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. Just before the season was halted, PSG played Dortmund at home in an empty stadium and won 2-0 to have a narrow 3-2 aggregate win. Several months later, PSG played Atalanta in the quarter-finals, winning 2-1 after two goals in injury time, including a 93rd minute goal by substitute Eric Choupo-Moting.
With Mbappe fully recovered and Neymar in top form, PSG’s elite offense could help PSG win a first ever Champions League, and this would be a perfect farewell match for 35-year old Thiago Silva. However, to do that, they’ll have to get past…
FC Bayern Munich
Bayern are arguably the most in-form team in the world right now. The Bavarians have now won 20 games in a row, including wins over Chelsea, Barcelona, Schalke, Dortmund, Leverkusen, and Lyon. Coach Hans-Dieter Flick has done a superb job since taking over, as Niko Kovac’s Bayern were struggling, with Kovac’s last game being a 5-1 loss to Eintracht. Flick has also been key in Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, and Jerome Boateng regaining form, as Muller finished the season with a Bundesliga record 21 assists. Of those 21 assists, 17 came during Flick’s reign.
Bayern Munich have also used smart finances to climb to the top of Germany and now possibly Europe. PSG spent $244 million on Neymar – more than Bayern spent on Thiago, Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, Manuel Neuer, Kingsley Coman, Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Thomas Muller, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Niklas Süle, Leon Goretzka, and Michaël Cuisance combined. There’s still change left, and that isn’t including loan players Perisic and Coutinho.
Bayern have clearly dominated Europe, winning every single game in the Champions League they have played. No losses. No ties. Robert Lewandowski is the top scorer in the Champions League, DFB Pokal, and Bundesliga. Serge Gnabry is averaging a goal a game in the Champions League, and has been superb in away games. However, Bayern have yet to play a young team with such a quick, effective counter attack like PSG, and Lyon demonstrated that Bayern can be caught in the back.
Sorry, PSG. You’ll have to wait another year. Bayern win the match 2-0, as Serge Gnabry gets yet another goal and Robert Lewandowski continues his European dominance, scoring the other goal as Bayern win the treble, repeating 2013’s feat.
Image Courtesy of Reubentg / CC BY-SA.
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