After several seasons of frustration, the Parisians have reason to believe it, Sunday, in the final of the Champions League against Bayern Munich. With a group that is more united than ever, Thomas Tuchel’s men can hope to take advantage of the weaknesses of the German club that were revealed during the match against Lyon, even if Bavaria with their experience are the favorites.
On paper, PSG looks like Petit Poucet. The Parisians play their first Champions League Sunday, August 23, in Lisbon, while Bayern Munich, the five-time winner, plays its eleventh.
In the absence of Real Madrid, record holder for victories with 13 kronor, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, winners of nine of the last fifteen editions with their respective clubs, Bavaria are favorites and especially opposition to the “old world” in the face of the emergence of new forces embodied by The Qatari version of PSG. But the main club could well fulfill the predictions, especially when Munich’s war machine showed shortcomings against Olympique Lyonnaisen semifinal (3-0).
The German defense faltered at the start of the match, and the opportunities that Lyonnais missed would probably not have been wasted by Kylian Mbappé or Neymar. “We were lucky to hold on to the first phase of the game,” admitted Bayern coach Hansi Flick, more relieved than euphoric after qualifying. “Bayern had more problems against Lyon than against Barcelona”, also commented the hot Ballon d’Or Lothar Matthaüs, now a star consultant on Sky: “If they play on Sunday when they played against Lyon, maybe they can say goodbye to the Champions League.”
“Paris has more qualities than Barcelona and Lyon”, also warned Lothar Matthäus, world champion in 1990: “Already against Barcelona, Bavaria had shown defensive weaknesses. In attack they still have their qualities, but behind them should be more stable. Maybe against Paris they should do not defend themselves so high, because Paris will use the speed of Neymar and Mbappé. “
The green lights for PSG
But on PSG’s side, we remain cautious. Bayern have published monstrous statistics this season in the Champions League: ten wins in ten games, more than four goals per game on average, and cards against European greats – 7-2 at Tottenham in a group match, 7- 1 against Chelsea in two matches in the eighth and the resounding 8-2 in the quarter against Barcelona.
“We saw the game together. It’s a very strong, very physical team with quality players. They’s used to playing this type of game. They deserve to be there,” the president said. Paris midfielder Marco Verratti, on Thursday during a press conference for video conferencing.
But Paris has reason to believe it with its increase in physical strength since the start of “Final 8”, which is added to the injured gradually back, just in time for the big meeting. After a victory on the wire against Atalanta Bergamo (2-1), the teammates in Marquinhos showed their collective strength against Leipzig (3-0) last Tuesday. And after losing back to back to injury Layvin Kurzawa, Verratti, Keylor Navas and Idrissa Gueye, the news is reassuring about their possible participation in the final.
“It’s the coach who will make the decision but I will do everything to be in the group”, promised Verratti, who is preparing to stay with his teammates for the 90 minutes “the most important in (their) football career and of club history” .
A Neymar stronger and happier than ever
PSG in particular can count on a Neymar finally at the top of their game. The player shows confidence and above all a real fulfillment. “Two years in a row with injuries at crucial times, important for me and our team. Today I am whole, injury free, can help my teammates in the best possible way. I am too happy, very happy … very happy!” He said. in an Instagram post.
Recruited in 2017 for a record value of 222 million euros from Barcelona, the Brazilian number 10 has never been able to shine in important European matches due to two serious foot injuries. A “curse” that had even made him want to hurry up last summer.
Finally stayed in Paris, “Ney” took it in his head to prove that at 28 o’clock it was finally time to establish himself as the new best player on the planet. Although he still has not scored, he was the scorer in this outstanding “Final 8” with his hell dribbling and his brilliant inspiration.
Better yet, his participation with Kylian Mbappé and Angel Di Maria suggests a fire attack that is ready to deliver its final bouquet on Sunday. “We’ve made history (Tuesday) but we do not want to stop there, we want more … Let’s look for the cup, the big ear, the TROPHY!” he writes.
A united team
The team also shows a good band and a joie de vivre. Since Dortmund clicked in March, uninterrupted exchange on WhatsApp during prison and repeated birthday parties, PSG have created a new family spirit around a common pact: win C1 on the occasion of the club’s fiftieth anniversary.
Kylian Mbappé, crowned world champion at the age of 19, even draws a parallel between the European adventure of PSG and the epic situation for the French team during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “We managed to create a group, everyone knows their importance and contributes to the building. It goes beyond the field, we do a lot more activities together. Maybe for some it’s too much, but I think that’s how you win,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s easier to find a friend, to make sacrifices, when you appreciate it. It is valid in football and in any job, he added. After that, is it that this will save us? I do not know, but it will certainly help. “
Despite the health crisis, Parisian supporters are in any case preparing for the party at a European coronation. It would become a second star of French football since the coronation of Marseille in 1993.
The final will be broadcast on giant screens at the Parc des Princes in front of 5,000 supporters, the highest level imposed by the government. But there will be no “fan zones” in the French capital. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin also announced the deployment of 3,000 police and fighters on Sunday in Paris to avoid the surpluses noted last Tuesday in the semi-finals. Avenue des Champs-Élysées, where it is mandatory to wear a mask as in its surroundings, will be reserved for pedestrians on Sunday evening from 9.00, while 17 metro stations will be closed.