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UEFA Champions League Final: PSG vs Bayern Munich


The biggest matchup in club football commences on Sunday as Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich lock horns in the UEFA Champions League final on Sunday as the French and German champions look to conquer all of Europe.

For Paris Saint-Germain, this is unfamiliar territory, making the final of the competition for the first time in their history. Meanwhile, Bayern are aiming for their sixth UEFA Champions League triumph which would also see them emulate Jupp Heynckes’ 2013 treble-winning team. Both teams have done exceptionally well to get to this stage, but just like every competition in the world, there can only be one winner. 

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UEFA Champions League Final
Sunday 23 August 
Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica  
21:00

To Win (90 mins)
Paris Saint-Germain 21/10
Draw 29/10
Bayern Munich 1/1

To Lift Cup
Paris Saint-Germain 16/10
Bayern Munich 5/10

Paris Saint-Germain

It may not be the most fascinating football story with many accusing Paris Saint-Germain of buying their success, but for a while now, the French champions have had one objective on their mind, the UEFA Champions League, which, you have to commend them for after years and years of failed attempts, sticking to their plan to buy some of the biggest names on the planet in hope of succeeding in Europe’s elite tournament.

For a club who were only founded in 1970 with no history at all, the only way they could have made it possible to attract big-name players was through money. With that, PSG have formed one of the best squads in world football and are now reaping the rewards for their extremely high demands.

In Thomas Tuchel, they have a master tactician who knows all about the German game following his spell in his native country with Mainz and Dortmund. His tactical versatility and the way he transitions through his favoured 4-3-3, 4-3-1-2, 4–2–3-1, and 3–4–3 formations make his team extremely difficult to deal with.

Tuchel has finally found the right balance at PSG which suits their world-class front three to perfection. With Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in attack, Tuchel needs three ‘destroyers’ in midfield which often sees him tinker with Ander Herrera, Marquinhos and Leandro Paredes, who has deputised well in the absence of Idrissa Gueye.

It allows PSG to dominate in possession while they also have the ability to sit back and counter the opposition. With stars like Mbappe and Neymar in attack, the main focus will always be in PSG’s frontline, but many seem to forget how rock-solid they can be as no side has conceded fewer than the French champions in 10 games, yielding just five goals.

With Bayern Munich likely to play a high line and push up the pitch, the highest-scoring Brazilian in Champions League history, Neymar, and 2018 World Cup winner, Mbappe, will be looking for their first goals in the bio-bubble – and perhaps the most important goals in the club’s history.

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Bayern Munich

As a unit, many believe that Bayern Munich are currently the best team in the world and the feeling that they could conquer and dominate Europe in the years to come has become a growing belief.

There was plenty of potential in this Bayern squad, but that all came into question during the first half of the season which saw the Bavarians part ways with Niko Kovac after he failed to fulfil and unlock that extra ability that the players seemed to be hiding.

Since December, though, Bayern have remained unbeaten, claiming the DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga titles. Hans-Dieter Flick’s side have won 27 of their last 28 games, and come into the final on a 19-match winning streak.

In terms of tactics, Bayern will be hoping PSG can’t take what they often dish out and press them high up the pitch, putting their defenders under immense pressure. High intensity has been the key to Flick’s success at Bayern and even though the club have moved on from the days of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, wing play runs through their DNA.

They overload and pack the midfield with Thomas Muller dropping in to support Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka, affording space to Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic who are likely winners in any one on one situation, while the full-backs of Alphonso Davies and Joshua Kimmich make it all possible for the wingers to have their freedom with their explosive work-rate on either flank.

The only worrying factor for Bayern is perhaps their biggest strength could work against them this Sunday. Against Barcelona and Lyon, their defensive high line could have been caught out on a number of occasions, and with the pace and intelligence that PSG possess in their ranks, Bayern may just have to be extra cautious.

PSG have some of the best players in the world, but what the French side don’t possess in their ranks, is a number nine good enough to lace Robert Lewandowski’s boots. The Polish striker, who turned 32 on Friday, is almost guaranteed to find the back of the net and add to his tally of 15 goals, especially as he’s already scored against every opposition Bayern have faced in the tournament already.

Routes to the final

Group Stage

Paris Saint-Germain finished first in Group A on 16 points – five ahead of Real Madrid.

Bayern Munich topped Group B on 18 points – eight ahead of Tottenham.

Last 16

First leg: 

Dortmund 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain

Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich

Second leg:

Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Dortmund

Bayern Munich 4-1 Chelsea

Quarter-Finals

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Atalanta

Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich

Semi-Finals

Leipzig 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain

Lyon 0-3 Bayern Munich

Probable line-ups:

Paris Saint-Germain: 4-3-3
Rico; Kehrer, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Verratti, Marquinhos, Herrera; Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe

Bayern Munich: 4-2-3-1
Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Goretzka, Thiago; Perisic, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski

Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain (21/10)
Bayern Munich are favourites in the final and perhaps rightfully so, but just looking at PSG and what they can offer on the counter-attack suggests we could see one of the most epic Champions League finals to date. Bayern play with an extremely high defensive line which I’m expecting PSG to exploit. Tuchel is a mastermind tactician and we could even see a change in the way they play just to accommodate the likes of Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria in attack. At 21/10, my money is on the French champions to put their names in history and claim their first-ever UEFA Champions League trophy.

Written by Jesse Nagel