Both PSG and Bayern Munich have an intimidating attack, but we consider how does the rest of their arsenal compare.
Klaus Bergmann and Sebastian Stiekel, in LISBON – Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich contest the Champions League final on Sunday and although both teams are most famous for their attacking line-ups, they offer much more.
Following is how PSG, Bayern and their German coaches compare ahead of the game behind closed doors at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.
PSG: Keylor Navas came to PSG last year after the winning the Champions League three times with Real Madrid. However, he injured himself in the quarter-finals and could still be sidelined on Sunday. Reserve man Sergio Rico kept a clean sheet in the semi against RB Leipzig and has experience in big finals as well, having played in the 2015 Europa League final for winners Sevilla.
BAYERN: Manuel Neuer is a key asset for the Germans. He won the Champions League in 2013, the World Cup a year later, and at 34 is still the backbone of the team. “Manuel is unique,” former Bayern goalkeeping great Oliver Kahn said of the captain after the semi, where Neuer made big saves against Lyon.
PSG: Veteran captain Thiago Silva likely plays his last match for PSG which he wants to cap by lifting the trophy, saying “We don’t want to settle for reaching the final.” Presnel Kimpembe is the other centre back while full backs Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat both formerly played in Germany at Schalke and Bayern, respectively. Bernat may want to settle a score after being the target of insulting remarks from then Bayern president Uli Hoeness after leaving in 2018.
BAYERN: Coach Hansi Flick has had remarkable success with a makeshift back line after centre backs Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez were out injured for months. David Alaba was moved into the centre from left back and Jerome Boateng has regained his form of old. Teenager Alphonso Davies has been a revelation on the left while Joshua Kimmich returned to his former right back position recently after Benjamin Pavard got injured. Pavard, Suele and Hernandez are back now but Boateng is nursing muscle problems. Bayern’s defence appeared vulnerable against Barcelona and Lyon.
PSG: This could a weak area. Thomas Tuchel has started using defender Marquinhos in defensive midfield to stabilize the team. Marco Verratti is not fully fit and yet to start in Lisbon, while Ander Herrera, Leandro Paredes and Idrissa Gueye are solid but not world class.
BAYERN: The Germans have plenty of class even though Kimmich has temporarily moved back into the right back position. Thiago Alcantara and the massively improved Leon Goretzka pull the strings as they form a world class duo, with Thiago however linked with a move to Liverpool which could make the final his last Bayern match.
PSG: Brazilian superstar Neymar and France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe form the most expensive front line in the world, having cost PSG some 400 million dollars in all. But they are worth every cent and with their skills and speed can hurt any opponent – and have now become true team players. “We are not that focused on the two of us any more. We have understood that we are playing with the others,” said Mbappe, who recovered from injury just in time. Neither has scored yet in Lisbon but that doesn’t matter as the third frontman, Angel di Maria, a former winner with Real Madrid, netted one and set up the other two goals in the semi against Leipzig.
BAYERN: Their attack was not as expensive but has scored a stunning 158 goals in 50 matches in all competitions, including 42 in the 10 Champions League games. Lewandowski is tournament top scorer with 15 goals, two shy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s record in a season which has seen him net 55 times overall. Winger Serge Gnabry has nine goals in Europe and Thomas Mueller has become indispensable again right behind Lewandowski as he heads into his fourth Champions League final. Ivan Perisic is the other winger while Kingsley Coman and Philippe Coutinho provide class off the bench.
PSG: PSG have won so many domestic titles that all that counts for the Qatari owners is success at last in the Champions League. Every coach is measured by this, including the football nerd Thomas Tuchel. The former Dortmund coach arrived in 2018 to take the hot-seat and has managed to turn even the biggest stars into true team players. He vigorously defends his players from criticism when the team doesn’t score goals galore. Even Flick admits that Tuchel “is doing a sensational job“.
BAYERN: Calling Flick’s job in Munich sensational would qualify as an understatement. The former Germany assistant coach, who helped win the 2014 World Cup, arrived as an assistant a year ago but took over in November – first only as caretaker – when Niko Kovac was fired. He has completely transformed the team which has not lost in 29 games (of which they won 28) and could cap his debut season by emulating Jupp Heynckes (2013) with a treble on Sunday. If not, he can try again because he now has a contract until 2023.