What a final!
Paris Saint Germain vs. Bayern Munich, a young European club looking to make a mark vs. European elite, a team that has arguably bought success vs. a dynasty of football. The parallels and narratives for this Champions League set themselves and everyone is eager to find out what the result will be. It has been a long and hard season for both teams and their 19/20 campaigns come to an end with this final game in Lisbon.
PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions in March as France decided to end their season prematurely and there was no return post lockdown. To be fair to PSG their was never any doubt they would lose the title having won it the last 3 season in a row and a total of 8 times in the last decade with a blip in the middle by Monaco. PSG beat Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16, and then went on to beat Atalanta, 1-2 in the quarters, and Leipzig 0-3 in the semis. The likes of Mbappe, Neymar, and Di Maria were too much for most of these teams while Icardi and Sarabia, etc were sprinkled in between. For PSG it is the trophy they have been searching for since they were bought by the Saudi’s. There has been an endless amount of money that has been pumped into the club and while Ligue 1 is usually a given the Champions League has always evaded them. A win in the final would justify their spending to themselves but while in a football sense the players will deserve it many will question the means and the ethics behind a PSG win.
Bayern Munich were crowned Bundesliga champions for the 8th successive year in a row after a blistering 2nd half of the season and an otherworldly post lockdown period. Bayern Munich always seem to tease the clubs around them by putting in poor performances up till the New Year and then changing gears once January begins. Hansi Flick has built a machine although over the last few games their high line has caused them problems and the likes of Neymar and Mbappe will be excited to test that out. Similar to PSG they are their countries dominant team, they tend to get the best players from rival clubs and really are a monopoly. Unlike PSG though they are a self run club and don’t throw money at problems but believe in buying young and exciting talents and developing them. The major difference is that Bayern are historic while PSG’s success is relatively recent with a majority coming in the last decade. I don’t think I need to talk about Bayern’s threats after what they did to Barcelona and how clinical they were against the likes of Chelsea and Leipzig. Lewandowski, Gnabry, Muller, Goretzka, Davies, Coutinho, Perisic the list goes on.
This final is going to be a very exciting one, both teams are star studded with their attacks lethal. Bayern’s is more clinical while PSG are more volume based. The game in my opinion will come down to the midfield and defence and which team can handle the other better. The neutrals will decide on which players they like more or on the moral high ground and ethics. A PSG win would really usher in a new age of football with a team finally having bought success at the highest level while a Bayern win would reassure Mourinho’s quote of “football heritage”. Can’t wait.